Snickers celebrated the tenth anniversary of its iconic ‘You’re not you when you’re hungry’ campaign earlier this year, and humour has played a vital role in the longevity of this initiative.

Executives from Mars Wrigley, the owner of Snickers, and BBDO, the agency behind this campaign, discussed the long-standing campaign at Lions Live, an online event held by Cannes Lions (a sister company of WARC).

“It helps to have a client who believes in the power of humour,” said Scott Mahoney, creative director at the New York office of BBDO. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Snickers built long-term success with “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”)

“With the state of the world today, a lot of clients are shying away from it. But if you’re telling a story that’s real, and grounded, and not going for cheap laugh, people appreciate it.”

Figures from Kantar, the research firm, show that the number of campaigns globally that use humour has fallen from 53% in 2001 34% in 2020.

This approach, though, has been a constant underpinning of the Snickers campaign – which draws on the insight that hungry people behave in odd ways – since actress Betty White began trash-talking in a Super Bowl ad back in 2010.

This levity was also displayed in a 2020 Super Bowl ad that acknowledged the planet was heading in the wrong direction, with adults riding scooters, ridiculous baby names and tech devices listening in on people’s conversations.

In response, Snickers dug a huge hole in the ground, and dropped an over-sized candy bar right into it to see if it could fix these problems.

And this ad offers a clear insight into the resilience of the Snickers’ platform, explained Rankin Carroll, global vice president, brands, content and media for Mars Wrigley.

“It looks nothing like the Betty White spot. But the idea, the humour, and the product as hero: well, that’s still all there,” he said.

Elaborating on that subject, Carroll suggested “The work hangs together truly on an idea that carries into different contexts, and still feels like it has integrity.”

Sourced from WARC