‘Hungry is not you’. On the 10-year phenomenon of the Snickers campaign

‘Hungry is not you’. On the 10-year phenomenon of the Snickers campaign
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The global Snickers candy bar campaign, under the slogan “Hungry is not yourself,” is more than a decade old. It brought the company sales success and became a commonly used slogan.

The cult Snickers campaign had its 10th birthday

Phrases like “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” or “Eat your Snickers” in the context of strange behaviour have become part of the Polish vocabulary. They come naturally to us and accompany our everyday slang. It has been 10 years since the company released the first of a series of catchy commercials on the market. Where did this phenomenon come from?

A bit of history

The marketing history of the brand producing nut, chocolate and caramel bars changed dramatically after 2009. Snickers was losing share in the global and US market. Sales of the bars were catastrophically low, consumer awareness was low. Snickers was losing its importance and there was a high risk of the brand’s final collapse

The nail in the coffin and a kind of incentive to change was a completely failed commercial presented during the Super Bowl 2007. The American public gathered in front of TVs saw a spot that was incomprehensible to them. Niche humor, addressed to young men and actually understood only by them, almost made Snickers go under.

Batoniki Snickers na sklepowej półce
(Photo: Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images)

Advertising revolution and image change

BBDO agency brought a breath of fresh air to the company. The new advertising campaign for Snickers was still based on a humorous message, but aimed at a wider audience. Snickers wanted to start being recognized not only among young men and teenagers. Snickers wanted to sell also to children, seniors and families.

BBDO Agency came up with the idea of using a universal slogan to advertise the product. What could be more obvious, universally understood and affecting everyone regardless of age, gender and location than hunger? It was the mechanism of feeling hunger and the influence of this sensation on our behavior that became the leitmotif of the campaign.

The marketers also wanted to expose the previous leitmotif of Snickers ads. It was satisfaction. So the new campaign used the concept: you can be yourself and get satisfaction from what you do only when you are not hungry. Simple and appealing to people in every corner of the world.

A spectacular premiere

The Super Bowl in 2010 became the perfect opportunity to present the world, and especially America, with the latest spot. The arena of events was, of course, the soccer game

Actress Betty White played the role of a starving, poorly performing player on the field. Only after being served (by the player’s girlfriend) an energy Snickers does the boy become himself again. Funny and witty commercial won the hearts of television viewers. The spot made popular not only Snickers brand but also Betty White who became the unofficial ambassador of the candy bar.

A decade of surprising spots

From the very beginning the new Snickers campaign assumed that local agencies would adapt stories to the needs of local communities. The humor was to be tailored to the people watching the commercial, tapping into local sense of humor and situational banter. For over a decade, the commercials featured celebrities, actors and athletes

Memorable spots include those with Joan Collins, Rowan Atkinson or Will Dafoe. Snickers did not limit itself to commercials with famous people. Commercials in which eating a candy bar together ended with couples kissing enjoyed popularity.

A recent triumph is a commercial with a climber who has no strength left to fight his way further up the mountain. After a while we find out that the man is not climbing a vertical wall, but crawling on the ground. In this spot Snickers again surprised with an original point, which was a bit missing in the series with celebrities.

The newest commercial

The premiere of the latest Snickers commercial is scheduled for June 2021. It was made for the upcoming European Football Championship and directly refers to this sport. Its hero this time is Jürgen Klopp – the coach of Liverpool. The plot is not surprising. The coach loses his nerve during a relaxing game of table football with his friends. Only after eating a Snickers does he become himself again.


The commercial with Jürgen Klopp also features a special limited edition of the iconic Snickers bar. Instead of the Snickers wording there will be terms that evoke the state we can be in when we are hungry. On the presented advertisement we can see the slogans annoyed and confused. Polish subtitles are to appear on bars in autumn 2021.

Main article photo: photo by Anadolu Agency / Contributor / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

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