An Adweek article showed up in my feed this afternoon from a friend, Construction Workers Yell Messages of Empowerment to Women in Snickers Stunt featuring construction workers yelling at women – with messages of empowerment. The commercial shows construction workers who instead of yelling sexist catcalls, shout positive messages like, “I’d like to show you the respect you deserve!” and “A woman’s place is where she chooses!” which gets you at first thinking, that’s different, kinda cool maybe. Wouldn’t that be a better world?
However, the spot ends with Snickers well used tag line “you’re not you when you’re hungry” implying that as soon as these fine gentlemen get a Snickers they will be back to their normal insulting antics. Additionally as Time points out both men and women have taken offense with women being yelled at regardless of the message and men in general as being portrayed as sexist.
This is not the first time Snickers has attempted to push social boundaries while also raising the ire of more progressive social groups.
Six years ago Snickers ran a Super Bowl ad featuring two male mechanics who accidentally find they have kissed while working on a car together. Their reaction was to scream while pulling out tufts of chest hair to “do something manly” in an effort to repair the gaffe. Again Snickers won props in the first 15 seconds for showing a gay kiss to an international audience but quickly lost the good will by subsequently alienating the gay community.
Blunders or Brilliance?
Humor is a unique medium, especially when all parties invited to view it expect to laugh. Comedians have always enjoyed a freedom to insult and challenge societal norms within the confines of the stage. Tosh.0 and Lisa Lampanelli along with classics like George Carlin can say and do things on stage that are not allowed in normal conversation.
Snickers is not exactly a natural food trying to improve our health and society so off color humor by a brand that really provides no nutritional value might be allowable if you take the message as seriously as you take the value of the calories.
While both ads had insulting aspects to their message that might be blunders for an auto manufacturer, retail store, or insurance company they both brilliantly placed a progressive social message in front a much larger audience than had previously been receptive to that social change.
Snickers Kiss 2008
Snickers Empowering Statements 2014