Snickers Finds a Little Hip-Hop Can Be Very Satisfying

Candy Marketer Says Web Series With Black Eyed Peas Spurred Sales

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The deal: This summer, Masterfoods USA's Snickers brand launched a five-webisode series called "Instant Def," featuring the Black Eyed Peas as hip-hop superheroes.

The result: Consumers with a sweet tooth flocked to the site, spending on average more than five minutes to watch the shorts and check out the candy bar brand's other offerings.

'Instant Def,' Snickers' hip-hop infused web series, featured the Black Eyed Peas as superheroes.

Snickers, the 76-year-old candy bar brand, this summer tried to reach out to young consumers by launching "Instant Def," a web series that stars the members of hip-hop chart-toppers Black Eyed Peas.

In the five webisodes, the group's members --, Fergie, Taboo and (aka William Adams, Stacy Ferguson, Jaime Luis Gomez and Allen Pineda Lindo) -- portray the Instant Def crew, who start out as workers at a Snickers factory before gaining superpowers after an incident at the plant. Throughout the series, the team fights to keep hip-hop real against rival Boo-T Records.

Innovative visual style

The webisodes' visual style used an innovative blend of comic book, video game and feature film. (The entire project was filmed in front of a green screen.) created the theme song.

Snickers has recently been trying to find new ways to continue to be relevant to teens and young adults, said Snickers' senior marketing manager, Vic Walia.

"What we're trying to do is really reach those influencers, the trendsetters within in the community, who are looking for things beyond advertising. They are really savvy to advertising right now," Mr. Walia said. This is a new way to communicate the brand message and engage the consumer, he added.

But hip-hop and Snickers?

Jimmy Smith, executive creative director at Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York, who led the effort on the agency side, said, "The kids that are eating Snickers bars are hip-hop kids. It's the hip-hop generation now. Anything you're doing with hip-hop is going to touch everybody."

And young people are on the internet.

'Hit them in a different way'

"Fortunately or unfortunately, that's where they spend a lot of their lives," Mr. Smith said. "We figured we could hit them there, and hit them in a different way from what they are usually seeing, just a 30-second commercial."

"Instant Def" was launched June 5. The final installment went online Sept. 8.

The effort was supported by a TV spot, which aired on MTV and other Viacom properties, and print in Teen People and Blender, Mr. Walia said. Also, exclusive "Instant Def" content was distributed to websites such as

The hip-hop strategy worked.

The "Instant Def" site has averaged 12,000 unique visitors a day., meant to be a source of consumer information but not a large driver of traffic, averages 3,000 site visits per month, Mr. Walia said. But with a traffic-driving initiative such as the current National Football League promotion, has generated more than 200,000 unique users in the last four weeks.

Ad efforts drive sales

"Instant Def" and other Snickers marketing efforts, such as the Peanutopolis work from BBDO and a melodious TV spot from Omnicom's TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York, have helped increase sales, Mr. Walia said.

Snickers consumption is up 4.8% in the 12-week period ended Aug. 13 compared with the same period last year, according to Mr. Walia. Convenience store sales are up 11.6%, which Mr. Walia said is where the youthful target market shops.

Snickers may be a popular, mainstream snack, but its advertising future is bold, executives said.

"Creating this 20-minute digital movie starring and Fergie, who are really hot right now, is precisely the kind of thing that you can expect from Snickers," Mr. Walia said.
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