Mars Stops Busy New Yorkers in their Tracks - Event Marketer

Mars Stops Busy New Yorkers in their Tracks

Actor and activist David Arquette encourages people to join the Bar Hunger campaign from atop the Madison Square Garden marquee
Year: 2010

In New York City, it’s pretty difficult to do something that hasn’t been done before. Even more challenging is getting the attention of busy New Yorkers who are bombarded daily by samplers, street teams and marketers hawking offers for the world’s biggest brands. In this sometimes hostile and overwhelming environment, Snickers executed a publicity stunt that did the near impossible—something new—while delivering on all its media objectives and making connections in relevant and personal ways.

The Snickers Bar Hunger campaign kicked off on July 14, 2009 on the roof of Madison Square Garden where the brand erected a lounge on the arena’s marquee and actor David Arquette spent two days living inside its four Plexiglas walls. Arquette is the chairman of Feeding America’s Entertainment Council, which supports the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity, Feeding America. In addition to hosting interviews by major media outlets like the “Today” show and the “Howard Stern Show,” Arquette also frequently stepped out of the lounge onto the marquee to engage consumers and his fans, using a large, Snickers-branded bullhorn to encourage them to donate to the cause. Consumers could text “Bar” to 90999 and $5 would be added to their mobile bill or they could donate through Snickers’ Facebook page.

On street level, brand ambassadors helped collect money from commuters, students, sports fans and tourists passing through the area. A Snickers-wrapped van also traveled throughout the city during the two-day event, generating additional impressions for the campaign. To generate buzz on social media sites, the brand leveraged its Facebook page, event website and Twitter page. Arquette also blogged, tweeted and uploaded videos to keep his followers informed during his two-day experience.

Every “first” has its challenges, and erecting a lounge on the Madison Square Garden marquee was this campaign’s biggest one. To address concerns over weight distribution and to meet engineering standards, the lounge was built using a unique rectangular design. Inside, Arquette enjoyed a cool (literally… air conditioning was critical in July) and stylish space fit for a celebrity.

Arquette’s “snacktivism” garnered 110 million impressions for the campaign. Snickers also pledged to match up to $25,000 of consumers’ donations through the Bar Hunger Facebook page–the number was surpassed before the two-day event ended.

From the visual impact of the lounge atop the marquee and the street-level interactions to the social media-savvy celebrity and philanthropic purpose, Snickers’ strategic twist on a hunger strike was a local stunt with far-reaching impact. Eating ooey-gooey caramel, nougat and peanuts drenched in chocolate has never felt so good.

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