The 10th Anniversary of the Campaign Designed to Last Decades

The story of Snickers' 'You're not you'

BBDO had done a great Snickers campaign back in the '90s called, "Hungry? Why wait?" Now it was 2009 and our clients requested a new campaign every bit as good, except this time it needed to work globally, plus it needed to be famous and talked about, plus it needed to last precisely for, like, forever. 

We kept the hungry part of the strategy, but our great creative team, Peter Kain and Gianfranco Arena, added a new, universal human truth that everyone, everywhere in the world, could relate to: You're not yourself when you're hungry. 

We launched with the Super Bowl-winning Betty White film in 2010. (Betty was 88 at the time, a lovely and funny soul; when she lay down in the mud puddle and the tackler got on top of her, she said, "Hey, the guy usually buys me a drink first.") 

Snickers | Game

Mars is a privately held company, so I can't reveal specific numbers, but the results were immediate. I can say that Snickers went from the No. 7 candy bar to No. 1 in short order. 

As the years have mounted up, we've found the idea is liquid and bendy enough to allow for all types of creative approaches in all kinds of new mediums—some of which hadn't been invented when the idea was birthed. For example, the "Hungerithm" 7-Eleven promotion from Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, or the "Snikkers Googel" idea from AMV BBDO. 

I think the best part is, the idea is big enough to feel small. By that I mean, wherever you go in the world, you see it executed super locally; doesn't look like a slick American campaign parachuted in, feels like a home effort.

Where does the campaign go next? Well, stay tuned, we have fresh, effervescent ways to keep making it pop in 2020. 

Muse is collecting stories from the past 60 years of advertising to mark the 60th anniversary of the Clio Awards. See more essays from our #Clio60 series:

"The Winding Road to Volkswagen's Famous Line 'Think Small' " by Bob Kuperman
• "The Making of the M&M's Characters, Advertising's Classic Comedic Ensemble" by Susan Credle
" 'You Deserve a Break Today.' The Story of the Classic McDonald's Jingle That Almost Wasn't" by Keith Reinhard
"Motel 6, Tom Bodett and the Ad Campaign That Put Us on the Map" by Stan Richards
"The Phone Call" by Lee Clow

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David Lubars
David Lubars is chief creative officer of BBDO Worldwide and chairman of BBDO North America.

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