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F*CK Ad Campaigns: Stop Snickers Before they Stop Us.

When was the first time I heard those words that haunt my dreams? Hungerectomy? Nougatcity? Like most branding I thought it would go away in a couple of years, but this advertising resists those common norms. In fact I feel like everywhere I look today not only do I see the same terrible Snicker ads that made it famous, but there are plenty of copycats to go around.

Let’s look at this from a societal level for a moment. The joke is not trying at all. There is no wittiness here. It’s a made up word that should make you feel hungry or conjure up a funny image in your head. Alright – that’s the basis of advertising – be memorable. Stick in people’s heads for the right reasons. At this stage in our evolution it matters ever more that you’re able to stay inside someone’s conscious mind for more than ten seconds. So, as long as you’re doing that don’t worry nearly as much about the actual images you make in “their” minds. Thanks Snickers for doing me such a disservice.

Mt. Foodji? You think that one wouldn’t escape me on the highway? The sign is gigantic. It is horrific. If I wasn’t driving at the time I almost definitely would have stuck knives in both my eyes, and texted every newspaper in the United States saying, “Stop Snicker ads before they stop us”.

Seriously though – I’d like to take a look at one post-apocalyptic film that seems to becoming true even today – Idiocracy. A quick summary for those who haven’t had a chance to watch this gem yet.

Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed-down that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive. – IMDB

We’re at a point where I really think it should be required watching in our middle schools across the country. While the film is hilarious it’s also a worthy cautionary tale. Does anyone get perplexed when they watch the Fuse channel? Do you wonder who is listening to this? Do you wonder what idiots are willing to hear out this emo nonsense? The intro is long enough to make you cry uncontrollably, but if you can see through the tears around 2:30 then you’ll see what I mean.

Why are there so many terrible tattoos in this world? Does it scare you where MTV has come to? This is our society’s needs that are being taken care of by television. We’re watching natural selection in action, and the results are frightening. The only difference is that we’re using all sorts of metrics to understand what we are naturally choosing, and then we’re making more of it. Look at the kinds of things we want to watch! The lineup (other than Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory which is quality programming) is nothing short of despicable.

So, while seeming completely outrageous – a world completely dumbed down is certainly not impossible. The tenants ‘Idiocracy’ was made on seem to be coming all too true even today. The film predicts a big change in our advertising strategies. A time where a play on words cannot can no longer exist because no one will ‘get it’. Over the years it shows chains like ‘Fuddruckers’ going through an identity crisis to eventually become a more appropriate brand for its consumers finally ending as ‘Buttfuckers’. Similarly Carl’s Jr. devolves its tagline to become “Fuck you, I’m eating”. My personal favorite is Costco’s which transforms into “Welcome to Costco’s, I love you”.

Snickers and its bastard ad children be wary of what you are doing. If today’s world is about accountability then it should be in all forms.

We should look towards our advertising like a flotation device. It’s not only about trying your hardest to find a more generalized marketing strategy that will engage a larger segment of the population. It’s about our future as a human race. No one thinks it starts with advertising, but I beg to differ. We spend countless hours ingesting ads. They are completely inescapable, and if the ads change – we change. So let’s change it up ad world. I implore you. Let’s start making hilarious idiotic things, but let’s do it the smart way. Let’s do it with a little class.

Mike Judge, thanks again for Idiocracy. I can’t believe they tried to sink your film! It must have just hit too close to home.

21 thoughts on “F*CK Ad Campaigns: Stop Snickers Before they Stop Us.”

  1. hawkesklein says:

    I am never watching Fuse ever again.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BlU5V5BaMjY/SbFEkiJnkxI/AAAAAAAAEWI/737dPAdDIB4/s400/SnickersAteTrain.JPG

    How do I leave pictures as comments? Anyway, I agree with you 99% until I saw the “Ate Train”

  2. hawkesklein says:

    I am never watching Fuse ever again.

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_BlU5V5BaMjY/SbFEkiJnkxI/AAAAAAAAEWI/737dPAdDIB4/s400/SnickersAteTrain.JPG

    How do I leave pictures as comments? Anyway, I agree with you 99% until I saw the “Ate Train”

  3. Ace says:

    The first time I watched Idiocracy I was in tears during the “I love you” scene that you posted.

  4. Ace says:

    The first time I watched Idiocracy I was in tears during the “I love you” scene that you posted.

  5. ivan says:

    Interesting post… I agree with pretty much all of what you said, which is surprising (in this case), since the limited exposure I’ve had to this Snickers campaign left me impressed with it.

    And here’s why: I’ve only seen these posters during my morning commutes on the F train, and in that context, almost all of the specific ads used on the subway are framed as parodies of the usual suspects who advertise on the subway. (I don’t remember the exact ads, but I’ve seen ones that are meant as callouts to Coney Island, local community colleges and night schools, lawyers who specialize in divorce, malpractice and bankruptcy cases, and — best of all — NYC’s own Dr. Zizmor!)

    None of the individual word choices in these ads were impressive, but I had a lot of respect for the decision to run ads that were specific to the local community as part of a national ad campaign.

  6. ivan says:

    Interesting post… I agree with pretty much all of what you said, which is surprising (in this case), since the limited exposure I’ve had to this Snickers campaign left me impressed with it.

    And here’s why: I’ve only seen these posters during my morning commutes on the F train, and in that context, almost all of the specific ads used on the subway are framed as parodies of the usual suspects who advertise on the subway. (I don’t remember the exact ads, but I’ve seen ones that are meant as callouts to Coney Island, local community colleges and night schools, lawyers who specialize in divorce, malpractice and bankruptcy cases, and — best of all — NYC’s own Dr. Zizmor!)

    None of the individual word choices in these ads were impressive, but I had a lot of respect for the decision to run ads that were specific to the local community as part of a national ad campaign.

  7. Pedro says:

    It is funny, everyone hates Middle School, and yet we let middle school quality thinking dominate our pop culture. EMO shit sucks. Give those guys a lifeectomy.

  8. Pedro says:

    It is funny, everyone hates Middle School, and yet we let middle school quality thinking dominate our pop culture. EMO shit sucks. Give those guys a lifeectomy.

  9. Jason Griffin says:

    yo, but the patrick chewing commercial is funny as shit.

  10. mike says:

    I hate the snickers ads, I would hate to witness the round table of jackasses yelling out things they thought were cute. And why is the Mt Foodji ad on such a stubby billboard? That’s just pollution in so many ways…

    But as someone who suffered through a catholic high school, I have to admit that I love the Hail Seitan ad! But not enough to order from Fresh Direct…

  11. mike says:

    I hate the snickers ads, I would hate to witness the round table of jackasses yelling out things they thought were cute. And why is the Mt Foodji ad on such a stubby billboard? That’s just pollution in so many ways…

    But as someone who suffered through a catholic high school, I have to admit that I love the Hail Seitan ad! But not enough to order from Fresh Direct…

  12. Victor Pineiro says:

    I think what makes these ads oddly brilliant (though offputting at first) is how fun they are to say. And that’s no small thing. Vygotsky did a lot of work exploring how much our language is influenced by words that are fun to say, and how we are always subconsciously entranced by onomatopoeia and alliteration.

    Every morning I drive by one of these signs that says Snackarondacks. For whatever reason, that word is fun enough to say that I repeat it at random intervals all day. That’s powerful in the ad world. I’m advertising for you without realizing it.

    I am not, however, buying Snickers. Ah well…

  13. Victor Pineiro says:

    I think what makes these ads oddly brilliant (though offputting at first) is how fun they are to say. And that’s no small thing. Vygotsky did a lot of work exploring how much our language is influenced by words that are fun to say, and how we are always subconsciously entranced by onomatopoeia and alliteration.

    Every morning I drive by one of these signs that says Snackarondacks. For whatever reason, that word is fun enough to say that I repeat it at random intervals all day. That’s powerful in the ad world. I’m advertising for you without realizing it.

    I am not, however, buying Snickers. Ah well…

  14. M.r.W says:

    Haha, Chris and I were talking about this Snickers campaign on the train once when we realized the entire length of a train car (and I’m sure more) was covered with these slogans and deformations of words. Although it may be annoying, as many of the Geico, commercials are; it’s rather ingenious. Snickers has branded themselves so well that we automatically know that it’s a Snickers campaign. Nowhere on any of these ads, as far as I’ve seen, does it say Snickers. So yes, these are fairly annoying, but aside from relieving my eyes from some of the more brutal ads I think they are rather clever. (Maybe tone down the abundance)

    Also, I wanna know why it’s just Snickers from the Mars company….

  15. M.r.W says:

    Another thing I just thought of this ad campaign shows or proves……it establishes the Mars company as one wealthy ass, yet desperate corp. These ads are extremely abundant. You would think if they had the money to pay for all these, they wouldn’t need the ad space? Weird…

  16. LM says:

    The fact that you slam MTV (which is god awful as it is) yet think Rob Dyrdek provides quality entertainment in which his programs air on MTV, is hypocritical. Idiocracy is in fact a terrible, piece of trash movie, and I find that your argument lacks credibility. Not saying I condone these ads, but there are more important things happening in the world to focus your attention and energy on besides less-than-amusing food ads.

  17. LM says:

    The fact that you slam MTV (which is god awful as it is) yet think Rob Dyrdek provides quality entertainment in which his programs air on MTV, is hypocritical. Idiocracy is in fact a terrible, piece of trash movie, and I find that your argument lacks credibility. Not saying I condone these ads, but there are more important things happening in the world to focus your attention and energy on besides less-than-amusing food ads.

  18. LM says:

    Oh, and using your heading with “f*ck” in it really makes me want to take you seriously….

  19. LM says:

    Oh, and using your heading with “f*ck” in it really makes me want to take you seriously….

  20. dANIEL joNES says:

    You Know You Love It: The top ten reasons you wish you came up with the Snickers ad campaign.

    I’m not one for segues, so let’s skip the bs and get right to the list making.

    10) It’s so simple that— aside from the physical production of signs and commercials— it could be the work of one man. Think about that, disgruntled plethora of unemployed Bachelor’s degree holders. Your to-do list this year could have been “Wake up. Stay in pajamas. Add ‘snack’ to other words. Have sandwich. Type words in place of ‘Snickers’. Collect fat ass check from the Mars corporation.” It’s a little bit of hope for all of us.

    9) “Did you hear about the fire at the circus?”

    Some of us won’t admit it, but everybody loves a a play on words. You can tell it to your grandma, your boss, your four-old-cousin, and not one person will call you a sinner, fire you, or tell on you to your Aunt Sally.

    “It was in tents.”

    8) It’s autonomous mind control. Sure, I get to work thinking “Snaxi” and you’re thinking “Snackirondacs,” but by lunch time it’s all Snickers, baby.

    7) This new campaign is completely innocuous, which is especially impressive considering Snickers had to pull their Superbowl “Kiss” and their Mr. T ads after everybody and their two mothers called them homophobic. The only people who can get offended by “Dr. Feedzmore” are grumps. Grumps, I say.

    6) It doesn’t involve any covers of any Beatles songs by any terrible bands. Which shows a great deal of restraint. I’m not so sure that I could resist “Dear Chewdence” or “Snack in the USSR.”

    5) By pandering to nobody and setting their sights on no key demographic, this may be the most diverse and far reaching ad campaign of all time. It’s bringing America together. And it works everywhere. Miami? Swim with the Chewfins. San Antonio? Visit the Snacklamo. St. Louis? Welcome to the Chew Me State. I’m on fire. No, I’m on snackre.

    4) It isn’t weird for the sake of being weird. Ever since “Taste the Rainbow” commercials hit our television sets, more and more marketing companies have just said “Well, we couldn’t think of anything to actually say about your company, so we’re going to have a midget punch a dinosaur that will then throw up cotton candy, out which will rise Bea Arthur, who is eating Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages.”

    3) It’s so subliminally forceful it’s amazing. The world just accepts them as bad puns, but really “Climb Mt Foodji” And “Get a Hungerectomy” are thinly veiled ways of commanding “Eat Snickers Now, Bitch.” It’s like the Jedi mind trick with posters.

    2) It may be the single most arrogant ad campaign ever, and it works. “We don’t need to tell you our name. You know who we are.” It’s the advertising equivalent of a business card with your face on it and nothing else. (Note to self: invest in face-cards).

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBF1lsZUlUI

  21. dANIEL joNES says:

    You Know You Love It: The top ten reasons you wish you came up with the Snickers ad campaign.

    I’m not one for segues, so let’s skip the bs and get right to the list making.

    10) It’s so simple that— aside from the physical production of signs and commercials— it could be the work of one man. Think about that, disgruntled plethora of unemployed Bachelor’s degree holders. Your to-do list this year could have been “Wake up. Stay in pajamas. Add ‘snack’ to other words. Have sandwich. Type words in place of ‘Snickers’. Collect fat ass check from the Mars corporation.” It’s a little bit of hope for all of us.

    9) “Did you hear about the fire at the circus?”

    Some of us won’t admit it, but everybody loves a a play on words. You can tell it to your grandma, your boss, your four-old-cousin, and not one person will call you a sinner, fire you, or tell on you to your Aunt Sally.

    “It was in tents.”

    8) It’s autonomous mind control. Sure, I get to work thinking “Snaxi” and you’re thinking “Snackirondacs,” but by lunch time it’s all Snickers, baby.

    7) This new campaign is completely innocuous, which is especially impressive considering Snickers had to pull their Superbowl “Kiss” and their Mr. T ads after everybody and their two mothers called them homophobic. The only people who can get offended by “Dr. Feedzmore” are grumps. Grumps, I say.

    6) It doesn’t involve any covers of any Beatles songs by any terrible bands. Which shows a great deal of restraint. I’m not so sure that I could resist “Dear Chewdence” or “Snack in the USSR.”

    5) By pandering to nobody and setting their sights on no key demographic, this may be the most diverse and far reaching ad campaign of all time. It’s bringing America together. And it works everywhere. Miami? Swim with the Chewfins. San Antonio? Visit the Snacklamo. St. Louis? Welcome to the Chew Me State. I’m on fire. No, I’m on snackre.

    4) It isn’t weird for the sake of being weird. Ever since “Taste the Rainbow” commercials hit our television sets, more and more marketing companies have just said “Well, we couldn’t think of anything to actually say about your company, so we’re going to have a midget punch a dinosaur that will then throw up cotton candy, out which will rise Bea Arthur, who is eating Jimmy Dean breakfast sausages.”

    3) It’s so subliminally forceful it’s amazing. The world just accepts them as bad puns, but really “Climb Mt Foodji” And “Get a Hungerectomy” are thinly veiled ways of commanding “Eat Snickers Now, Bitch.” It’s like the Jedi mind trick with posters.

    2) It may be the single most arrogant ad campaign ever, and it works. “We don’t need to tell you our name. You know who we are.” It’s the advertising equivalent of a business card with your face on it and nothing else. (Note to self: invest in face-cards).

    1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBF1lsZUlUI

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