Cannes 2012

Mars CMO Bruce McColl Unveils Global Twix Campaign at Cannes

Festival's Advertiser of the Year Looks for Universal Human Truths Like Rivalry

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Mars' CMO Bruce McColl unveiled a new global campaign for Twix the day before he accepts the Advertiser of the Year trophy at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Saturday night. Speaking to journalists today in Cannes, Mr. McColl said the Twix spots will break first in Germany and then in the U.S. in mid-July and run in 50 countries (at least one major market, Brazil, doesn't have the Twix brand).

In one spot, twin brothers unveiling the first Twix bar accidentally break it, and neither will give up his half. Instead, they divide their Twix company out of spite, into Left Twix and Right Twix, and pretend they are creating two very different products. One, for instance, is "bathed in chocolate" while the other is "cloaked in chocolate." The spot invites viewers to try both and pick a side. The whole story is told using a voice-over, so different languages can easily be substituted.

"This is a rivalry between the two chocolate fingers," said David Lubars, chief creative officer of BBDO, the global agency for Twix. "People like rivalry. They're asked to pick one, but what makes it silly and fun is that they're identical."

He said the campaign lends itself well to social and digital pieces, like competing Facebook pages. Mr. McColl said Mars builds a collaborative approach to get great brand ideas that go across the world. "We spend a lot of time sweating those ideas [that combine] a simple human truth with a compelling brand truth."

The human truth could be that people enjoy rivalry and naturally like to pick sides, the insight the Twix campaign is built on, or the desire to protect innocent dogs, which Mars' petfood division Pedigree Pets uses. The new Twix campaign was pulled together by a global team, using an idea born in London and executed from New York, Mr. McColl said.

Talking about Mars' culture, he said "We're a very decentralized company. We have more than $30 billion in sales but fewer than 100 people at headquarters." So marketing "isn't something we can run out of one office." Mr. McColl, who talked to journalists along with Andrew Robertson, BBDO's president-CEO, and Chuck Brymer, president-CEO of DDB, said that despite their collaborative approach, communication appeared to have broken down today in the matter of a dress code for their press conference appearance. Mr. Robertson, who generally wears a stylish suit, was dressed in pink shorts with blue flipflops, while Mr. McColl, an Australian who doesn't usually wear a suit, donned one today.

Asked to name a recent favorite campaign, Mr. McColl cited Snickers' "You're Not You When You're Hungry," another global effort by BBDO.

The Advertiser of the Year prize, which is announced before the festival, is based on performance in prior years. Mars has won 78 Lions since 1990 at Cannes, including 11 Gold awards and a Radio Grand Prix in 2007 for Snickers. As of Friday afternoon, Mars had picked up seven Lions at the 2012 festival, and has work for Pedigree Pets shortlisted in two of the contests still to be awarded, Titanium /Integrated Lions and the new branded content & entertainment category.

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