Shocking snickers ad. Not in a good way.

Snickers just released one of the most controversial ads exploring gender equality… and they were doing so well!

Snickers Ad: You’re not you when you’re hungry.


Youtube title “Aussie builders surprise public with loud empowering statements.” explains the basic premise of the video quite well.

How the ad is setup is pretty simple. The ad starts off with blue-collar workers (specifically in construction) looking and shouting things at women across the street. It is setup to look like a prank/improvised video where participants’ genuine reactions are recorded. Instead of shouting things about how the women look in a short-skirt, however, the construction workers took an unexpected and heart-warming approach

They shouted things such as:

  • “Hey! Darling!… You have yourself a lovely day.”
  • “Hey!… That colour really works on you. Have a productive day!”
  • “You wanna hear a filthy word?…Gender bias.” *Murmurs of agreement*
  • “I’d like to show you…the respect you deserve”
  • “A woman’s place… is where she chooses.”
  • “I appreciate that your appearance is just one aspect of who you are.”
  • “I respect you for who you are.”
  • “You know what I’d like to see?… A society in which the objectification of women makes way for gender neutral introductions, free from assumptions and expectations”

As this happens, we see the delight on the faces of women and men alike in the public who witness this unexpected example of tolerance.

Then BAM. The snickers campaign slogan: “You’re not you when you’re hungry”


While yes, some argue the ad is quite ambiguous and I would agree. Snickers does not do a good job of being clear of what they intended… but at the same time it is hard to ignore what they seem to mean. The ad starts out with “what happens when builders aren’t themselves?” and ends with “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” This seems to be saying everything seen in between the two statements are when the builders are not themselves.

Who does this affect? Well, I expect feminists to be very very angry. (Definition: Feminism- seeking to establish equality of women. I’m not talking about those feminist wannabes who demonize men and worship the idea of being a woman. I’m talking about those down-to-earth individuals who just want to be treated fairly.) This ad seems to say that womanising is a completely fair and reasonable thing for men to do. Not cool.

Who else? Well, it affects gentlemen too. (Definition: Gentlemen- a man with good, courteous conduct). It is my firm belief that men with any sense of class and intelligence should not view women as inferior, or partake in activities which promote objectification. “Real” men recognise and believe in the equality of women. So this ad also takes us gentlemen back a bit- because it seems to say “men are all lecherous, womanising kinds and if they start acting differently, that’s not normal.”

So snickers has pissed off both men and women, and only pre-teen boys are left. (Sorry to use this stereotype, it was to show a point. Not all pre-teen boys and immature and obsessed with sexualising women).

From an ethical and moral standpoint, it seems Snickers has failed miserably. Official statements from the company urge viewers to “not look too deep into the ad”. Yes, but to avoid reaching this conclusion- we’d have to look so far away from it that we may as well have not watched it. Not very good due-diligence on their part, don’t blame it on the viewers.

Marketing Implications

Well from the Mr. T ads of the past and hugely successful “Get some nuts” campaign as well as just a quick visit to their website, it seems that Snickers targets men between the ages of 18 to 50. So maybe it was deliberate.

Snickers tries to have a very “macho”, “manly-man” image- rough, rugged, and full of nuts. In trying to appeal to this target audience, however, snickers has completely disregarded others.

We’ve seen many previous examples of when companies conduct advertising only to their target audience, and sometimes at the expense of other groups. Most recent example would be Abercrombie & Fitch, with their “Beautiful people” positioning and exclusivity. And guess what- they all end in fire.

From this point of view, their marketing is a blatant failure. Sure, there’s publicity and awareness- but unless companies are trying to make themselves exclusive to a niche target audience, bad publicity is not good. Snickers is getting known- but being known for being a misogynist in this day and age- not good either. Maybe this sort of ad would have succeeded 20 years ago.

All in all, marketing research and evaluation should have been done- and not just to their target audience. This sort of reaction would have easily come out of a focus group, if it is not common sense enough. Yes, we get that you’re just trying to be humorous, but now it looks like you’re getting pretty desperate to make us laugh. Bad move, Snickers- but I am interested in how you handle it and clean up the damage.

Thanks to the independent and my very informed friends on Facebook for bringing this to my attention:

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