The brand, which had been with BBDO since 1995, spent three years
at Omnicom Group sibling TBWA, starting in 2006. Ms. Flanik's
team snagged it back last fall.
"It's one of those brands that felt like a part of BBDO, and
when we got it back, there was so much excitement, there wasn't
anyone in this agency that didn't want to work on it," Ms. Flanik,
43, said. That was a good thing, because Mars then asked the agency
to launch "You're not you when you're hungry" in time for this
year's Super Bowl.
"We had to just go and move so fast that nobody had time to
second-guess," she said. That was probably a good thing, too,
because given enough time, most agencies and marketers might be
able to talk themselves out of knocking the beloved Betty White
into the mud. The Super Bowl spot, of course, was a boon for all
involved. The spot won USA Today's ad meter, and has helped spur
sales of the iconic chocolate bar. The ad's continuing popularity
sparked a Facebook campaign that helped get Betty White a hosting
gig on "Saturday Night Live." (Said Ms. White: "Like eating a
Snickers bar, with Kirsten you certainly get your fill of energy.
She's a nonstop leader.")
It was an important time for Snickers to put a stake in the
ground -- the international chocolate market is expected to get a
lot more competitive. Kraft completed its purchase of Cadbury in
February, and Hershey has said it will be stepping up its game.
Snickers and M&M's, two of the best-selling chocolate products
in the U.S. -- and both BBDO accounts -- will likely have to work
harder to maintain sales and market share.
Ms. Flanik said that when working with iconic brands, the
challenge is finding something fresh to say that also has broad
appeal. M&M's, for instance, launched the "inner M" campaign,
which leans heavily on digital and social media, and encourages
consumers to create their own M&M avatars. And the Snickers
"You're not you when you're hungry" campaign, she said, can
resonate with consumers from their teens to their 80s.
Todd Lachman, president-Mars Chocolate, North America, cited Ms.
Flanik's "passionate and strategic leadership" on Mars brands, as
well as a "tremendous drive to uncover the combination of the most
consumer-relevant and creative executions."
David Lubars, chairman-chief creative at BBDO North America,
remembers meeting Ms. Flanik when she was an account supervisor at
on United Airlines. "She was a leader who could reduce complex
problems down to actionable nuggets," he said. "You could see she
was fantastic and would be a star."
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CORRECTION:An earlier version of
this story incorrectly stated Kristen Flanik's