Since its release on March 25, 2014 it has received nearly 3 million views on YouTube. The ad, which can be viewed below, reveals several actors portraying tradies on a building site, who are filmed shouting empowering messages such as “have a productive day,” “I’d like to show you the respect you deserve” and “you go girl” to women who walk by. Actor, Slavko Zwirn who portrayed one of the builders in the ad told news.com.au, the women on the street were not actors and Snickers was pleased with the public’s overall positive attitude during the ad’s production. Initially, people took to the ad with amusement however, shortly there was an outburst on social media labeling the ad sexist and reinforcing gender stereotypes.
The ad was thought to be normalising sexual harassment, and the light-hearted, larrikin-like take on the subject was considered to decrease the importance of that issue. The idea that if these these Aussie blokes weren’t hungry, they would not respect women and instead would shout out rude comments didn’t sit well with a large amount of the public, particularly women. People angered by the ad took to twitter posting comments such as the following:
— louise (@larkened) March 30, 2014
— Susan Arnot Heaney (@SusanHeaney) April 1, 2014
— Cindy Ritchie (@Cindy_Ritchie) March 28, 2014
Following the negative reception, a spokeswoman from Mars™ released a statement the same day the ad was released stating, “The intent of the video is to show in an engaging and entertaining way the impact positive yet unexpected statements can have on unsuspecting passers-by.”
“We did not seek to offend anyone, and we ask that people do not read into the video anything more than what was intended.”
However, we can ask, was the intention of Snickers Australia to offend and cause controversy? Controversy can be useful in the marketing world, it gets conversations flowing and a certain message out there to more people. In Snickers’ case, the message was extended to more consumers.
In response to the negative audience comments to Snickers, the opposition Cadbury devised a retaliating ad for the new ‘Boost Nuts’ bar, which was released on Facebook the following day with the hashtag “sexism is nuts.” The reaction to one television ad sparked not only a social media debate but one in the advertising world as well.
In the age of social media and anyone being able to publish their opinions in a public space, the readings of a text is more important than ever. It’s interesting to ask, how successful Snickers Australia think this ad is and how useful has social media been in advertising for the product regardless of the negative comments. The reaction to the ad resulted in it being shared online and viewed by millions, this would have made a huge impact in increasing the frequency and publicity of the ad. We can assume Snickers Australia was looking for this large reaction, after all, no publicity is bad publicity, right? On the other hand, we can ask has the ad deterred any type of consumer away from the product. Perhaps yes, but in my opinion it seems unlikely. I mean all this talk about chocolate is actually making me hungry…might just go get a Snickers.