In an article I read in the Wall Street Journal last week, I realized how important international events are for companies for branding and marketing purposes. Mars has been attempting to increase the advertisement efforts of their candies in China for years. The deal went through when they declared Snickers to be the Beijing Olympic Game’s official chocolate in Summer 2008. They also targeted a specific consumer target, which helped them produce different strategies and gain insights into consumer feelings.
The company, Mars, took the opportunity of the Beijing Olympic Games to promote the Snickers chocolate bar. In order to get the attention of the consumers, they hosted a Snickers Street Olympic tournament in hybrid sports. The events that they included were “basoccer” and “streetminton.” Mars also created a game, which was called “Snickers Jump Satisfaction” in which people needed to jump as many candy bars as possible, and, in the end, the winner would win tickets to the Olympics Games. The marketing department was clever to create these “fun and interesting” games which attracted consumers. Mars’ main focus was targeting teenagers. The marketing department knew that once the teens would try it, they would tell their friends and by word of mouth Snickers could become a trend amongst youth. In better words to describe it, Paulette Velasco, vice president of Helio’s partners stated “It was about creating the buzz”.
This shows how certain marketing strategies can work if thought out and implemented correctly. The main questions that companies need to think of are “Who are your customers?” and “Who will buy your product?” Mars targeted youth and used Snickers as a convenient candy for teenagers to buy in case they were hungry. It is important as a marketing department to focus the product on a specific consumer; it’s not best to want to target everyone because that will be unlikely to succeed if the demographic is too broad.
Another important factor is how Mars used the Olympic games to both introduce Snickers to a certain demographic and communicate with consumers, being that the Olympic Games is a highly publicized event. The marketing department has to think of how consumers are feeling about this product as well. All consumers do not think the same way and do not have the same mindset. The older population will look at the calories in the chocolate bar and do not like the fact that it can be fattening. Then we see the teen consumers who are getting addicted to the chocolate bar but yet are somewhat resistant to buying it every day since it is expensive for them. This comes down to a challenge for the marketing department. How do you price a product that is loved by the consumers but is viewed as expensive for everyday use? Do you decrease the price and have more consumers purchase it or do you keep the price high?
While the answer of that question depends on the specific strategy (price skimming, penetration pricing etc), it’s no question that Mars has benefited from a world event to advertise their bars to a new market. We should all leverage from world events and recent developments to get our names and our clients out there.