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Butterfinger - Bolder Than Bold

February 07, 2016 | :30

Feats of daring escalate in an amusing set piece via WPP's Santo until the culmination: defying mom and eating a Butterfinger before dinner. It’s refreshing to see the brand admit that despite the adult man starring in the ad, this product is for kids.

To develop the spot, Nestle used an unusual combination of qualitative and quantitative research known as "qual-quant," from Cincinnati-based AcuPoll research, in which groups of 30 to 50 people watch ads, vote on what they like using iPads, then delve into possible improvements. The goal was to bolster the good aspects of focus groups with the quantitative copy testing that many marketers want. Nestle, with two concepts in hand and a relatively late buy applying some time pressure, tried AccuPoll to speed its process along.

The company more often synthesized resutls from separate focus groups and quantitative copy testing, Brand Manager Kristen Mandel told Ad Age. "But given our tight timeline and the situation we were in with the two concepts, this seemed like the best way to get the deepest, most actionable insights in the time allowed," she said.

Although sweets aren't the most crowded Super Bowl ad category, Butterfinger ad did go up against two from Mars Inc. in 2016, one for Skittles ("The Portrait") and one for Snickers ("Marilyn"), both of which ran earlier in earlier quarters. In most years there's maybe one candy brand, typically Snickers or M&M's.

Butterfinger got its first crack at the big game in 2014, when it also became the first Nestle brand to enjoy a Super Bowl ad berth, running a spot for Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups ("Cup Therapy"). The brand took a year off, then announced its return for Super Bowl 50 with a skydving stunt streamed over Periscope. In October 2016, Nestle Chief Marketing Officer Rob Case said Butterfinger, and Nestle, would sit Super Bowl LI out.

Director: Armando Bo, co-writer of the 2014 movie "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)."

Send credit info to SuperBowlAdArchive@adage.com.
  • BrandButterfinger
  • Year2016
  • AgencySanto
  • Superbowl #50
  • Quarter airedQ3