You’re not you when you’re hungry.

The 26/3/14 launch of the latest instalment of Snickers’ long running ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign, received much attention on social media, but possibly not for the right reasons.

While it would be nice to think that one of Clemenger’s communication objectives was to promote discussion about stereotypes, sexism and abuse in all its forms against women, no industry spokesperson has validated this, and so I’m left wondering if adequate thought was given to the implications of using such a highly charged issue to communicate the daily experience of feeling a little peckish for a Snickers bar, and behaving differently when you are.

Celebrated Clemenger BBDO Melbourne executive creative director Ant Keogh said: “It’s not always easy to create a local adaptation of a global theme, but with Snickers, it’s been an absolute delight. The whole premise of ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ gives us enormous scope,” he said.

Unfortunately, the idea, while consistent with a clever creative proposition, has fallen short of questioning whether it is socially responsible to align male hunger for a Snickers bar with the only time in the day they are able to behave respectfully towards women. It really doesn’t matter that construction workers are the perpetrators of sexist behaviour here. What does matter is that the ad if taken to its logical conclusion condones sexism and abuse of women when men are themselves and eating Snickers bars. Not sure this is the sort of brand messaging either party intended.

The two questions that should have been asked, (which clearly weren’t) – are:
Is being you, and you being sexist, okay?
Is you at your best, a sexist?

The ad’s consumer backlash indicates that the interpretation and execution of the premise has been completely insensitive to the troubling state of the real issue of sexism and violence in all forms, against women.

In its defence, the ad is actually quite likeable because of the element of surprise employed. I like the fact that it uses a stereotype most of us women have been on the receiving end of, to surprise us with unlikely behaviours. The juxtaposition of the script’s language and construction workers is comical, demanding more than one view. It’s also been executed well and convincingly.

This Australian instalment of Snicker’s ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign does well to elicit such mixed responses, forcing us to question the status quo and promote dialogue of this very important issue. However, this objective does not appear to be one that Clemenger has built into its communications. Indeed, a deeper line of questioning during strategy sessions might have created a more warmly received campaign. While a script edit may have tempered the outcry, so too would a super at the end of the spot with a call to action, or a strategic partnership with a relevant industry body that fights for womens’ rights. It’s never too late.

[As an aside, congratulations to Campaign Brief for landing Clemenger’s exclusive and with 2,474,447 views of the video to date, let’s be positive that debate will in fact positively affect continued cultural and political change).

3 comments

  1. Sometimes as Freud (supposedly said) ” a cigar is …just a cigar”
    While it is laudable that the companies involved in this ad considered the whole issue of sexism (god, I hate that term)it’s surprising that they reversed their usual focus (you are nasty when hungry and better with a snickers) to *slightly* confuse the message.
    But considering the plethora of “mere , stupid male ads ” on TV portraying men as incompetent dolts, that have nothing really to do with the product on offer this ad is small beer. –
    Here are a few – http://youtu.be/S62sl-qWEqo
    a cheeky , funny ad for a chockie bar is not a major issue as I see it.
    I was in Broadway shops the other day and I did notice that there was blatantly sexist advertising in almost all the shop windows … what I can’t understand is that these shops for the most part sell purely to women. Could it be that there is a visually stimulated sexual side to women? … and it’s images of women that do it ? Or is it just good old female/female competition in action?
    It’s kinda funny that when I go to the doctor’s there are no Zoo magazines or GQ as these have been known to be guilty (and rightly so) of objectifying women.Yet the place is awash in Vogue, Cleo and Cosmo mags filled with almost nothing but ads that objectify women ..to women-
    Is that different somehow ?
    🙂
    Love the blog C – keep it up

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    1. Hi Rob. Thanks for your comment. I actually really liked the ad, it was just such a shame about the confused messaging. And yes, you’re right about the saturation of sexist imagery. I certainly wouldn’t discount that women possess a visual sexuality, but I’m not sure that’s the reason why there’s so much of it around. Marketing and visual communications in the branded world has become extremely complacent, lazy actually. There is simply no sense for advertisers and their creative agencies to align household or everyday products with sex, certainly not as often as we see, for there will always be unintelligent communications. But worse, given the fashion industry is known for its exploitative practices, its abuse of sexualised imagery is quite obnoxious. Sex has become a visual language that now by-passes all questioning. Instead we simply say “sex sells”. Perhaps then it’s no co-incidence that sex is used as the platform to communicate brands when the visual communications industries are dominated by male creatives. Having said this and to turn positively back to the Snickers campaign, I do believe the brand intended to highlight a real and aggravated issue for good intent. (And for the record I know some brilliant, male creatives who are as bored as me of the sexual saturation used in brand campaigns at the expense of story-telling and great ideas.)

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      1. Thought as I got older a lot of the inner workings of the human psyche would become clearer to me. My preconception was that people were a lot nicer , less materialistic and sensible than they were usually given credit for …and that I would see that gain acendancy over our “dumb mob” behaviours.
        The post 9/11 hysteria in the USA , the gun debate (despite massacre after massacre) , the global warming deniers , Tony Abbott’s getting votes from poor people , wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , the hysteria about budgets here (lowest debt to GDP ratio around!) and the ongoing schemozzle around gender politics … I despair of the human race at times- how are we going to understand aliens (if we ever meet some) when we have little awareness of ourselves & our loved ones?
        Sexism is rife in society and the responses to it remind me of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy – we know what the answer is – we just can’t agree on the question we are trying to tackle.
        BTW if I’m being a pain dipping my oar here – just say Chanty 🙂

        Like

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