How Mars tapped social sentiment to win over millennial consumers

Mars Chocolate shares the results of an innovative four-week social media campaign that used sentiment analysis to engage with younger consumers

When Mars Chocolate announced it would set the price of a Snickers bars based on the mood of the Internet, it did more than just create a cool integrated online and offline campaign – it set in motion a fundamental rethink of how Mars reaches specific audiences.

“We’re obviously a mass media, reach-based, brand-led organisation, and most of our investment lies around mainstream TVCs to drive that reach objective,” marketing director for Mars Chocolate Australia, Matthew Graham, tells CMO. “As the world transitions, and we are trying to reach more of the younger demographic and millennials, we are realising very quickly that they aren’t watching much TV these days.

“The way to reach them is absolutely though mobile. Then we asked how can we use our campaigns through mobile to reach that audience. So ‘Hungerithm’ was born.”

The ‘Hungerithm’ campaign ran for four weeks in mid-2016, and worked off the back of Snickers’ ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ tagline by monitoring Twitter posts to determine overall sentiment. When ‘anger’ went up, the price of a Snickers bar at 7Eleven stores would go down, with consumers able to lock in a price by generating a barcode on their phone. The lowest price reached was $0.78, due in part to anger directed towards US presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

Graham says more than 78,000 sessions were recorded, with more than half on mobile, and 7000 barcodes generated.

Matthew Graham
Matthew Graham


“When you translate that to purchases, the number of Snickers we sold in that given four-week period for 7Eleven is significant given what we would normally do,” Graham says. “From that point of view it over-delivered on our expectations, and certainly met 7Eleven’s objective.”

The campaign also generated nearly $1.4 million dollars in earned media, with 150 articles written.

“There was a level of paid media we had to do to drive it, but the paid media paid off,” Graham says. “It has given us a lot of confidence in trying to create content.”

While the campaign proved successful, it was a long time in the making, having been conceived a full two years before execution. Graham says half that time was spent working with Mars’ agency partners, Clemenger and Mediacom, and the rest aligning with 7Eleven’s plans.

Many of the most challenging questions were internal. “Where would I fund the budget from, and how would I get my CFO and CEO to believe in the leap of faith?” Graham recalls. “All you can do is to be really clear on the success factors upfront, and how we want to be known from a reputation point-of-view.”

That includes thinking more broadly about the benefits of a campaign. “This goes beyond just selling a lot more Snickers,” Graham says.

“It helps us recruit more talent and put us on the edge of marketing leadership amongst other FMCG companies in Australia. So it has a lot of by-products that you can’t measure, that we want to be known for and famous for. When you sell the whole package and the emotion behind it, it starts stacking up.”

The Hungerithm platform is now being retooled for use on similar campaigns in other parts of the world, Graham and his team is considering new campaigns. Most importantly, Hungerithm has given Mars the confidence to try similar ideas into the future.

“It’s given us a lot of confidence, and our investment in social and digital will increase significantly next year and beyond,” Graham says. “Gone are the days where you roll out a promotion, stay in the market for four weeks and roll back in. We need to be a lot more fluid with how we want to interact with our consumers daily.

“There will be a lot of failures, so it is about how do we fail fast, but equally, celebrate what worked.”

That includes seeing Twitter play a bigger role in the company’s media platform mix.

“Typically we are talking ‘at’ consumers through TV,” Graham says. “But now it is much more two-way and interactive – that is the opportunity. And Twitter and a lot of the social platforms will be pivotal to us moving forward.

“It was a great experience, and our understanding of what data is available through that platform is a lot better now than what it was.”

Having been through the experience, Graham advises all marketers to set aside funds for innovative ideas.

“For CMOs, I would be encouraging them to ringfence funds, because it will create value,” he says. “You will fail, and you’ve got to get comfortable with, especially in big multinationals. However, if you can fail fast you can learn and turn that into great value creation moving forward.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:+google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing

As a Marketer, the ‘Scotty from Marketing’ meme troubles me.

Natalie Robinson

Director of marketing and communications, Melbourne Polytechnic

How do we break out of our marketing echo chambers?

Clients and agencies can get stuck into a particular way of behaving and viewing the world, but there are ways to break out of our marketing echo chamber.

Steve O'Farrell

Managing Partner, The Royals

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Instagram changes algorithms every time you get used to them. It really pisses me off. What else pisses me off? The fact that Instagram d...

Nickwood

Instagram loses the like in Australia; industry reacts positively

Read more

I tried www.analisa.io to see my Instagram Insight

Dina Rahmawati

7 marketing technology predictions for 2016

Read more

The saying is pretty tongue in cheek. It's not saying that marketers are bad people, nor that they don't take themselves seriously. There...

LYF Solutions

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing - The CMO view - CMO Australia

Read more

Given Scotty's failed track-record in the marketing realm the memes and the ridicule is very apt and is in no way a reflection on marketi...

denysf

The trouble with Scotty from Marketing - The CMO view - CMO Australia

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in