NEW YORK: Mars, the food group, believes precise targeting is less significant for its brands than making impactful creative which is capable of reaching and engaging a broader audience.

Bruce McColl, Global CMO of Mars – the owner of brands like M&Ms candy, Wrigley gum and Uncle Ben's rice – discussed this topic at the Advertising Research Foundation's (ARF) Re:Think 2016 conference.

"I'm not a great believer in targeting," he said. (For more, including further details of the organisation's marketing strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Targeting doesn't interest Mars marketing chief.)

"Our target is about seven billion people sitting on this planet. It's millennials; it's baby boomers; it's people in the US; it's people in China; it's people in Kenya; it's even people in Australia, every once in a while."

Drilling down into this subject, he argued the extremely wide reach of Mars's products means a sizeable portion of its customer base at any one time is not going to be made up of ardent enthusiasts.

"Our challenge is not creating this unrealistic level of hyper-engaged people on our brands," McColl told the ARF assembly.

"When you think about that reality, the big insight is that most users aren't fans: 98% or 99% of the people who [will] buy us this year are not fans of our brands."

In this context, the notion of deep targeting must undergo a revision. "Our task is to recruit more users," McColl said.

"We simply can't grow unless we do that. So our strategy is: How do we actually reach more people? How do we get noticed? How do we get remembered?"

Answering that question rests in no small part on using impactful creative that can engage consumers who "don't necessarily want to pay attention to what we have to say", the marketing executive continued.

"Our task is to reach as many people as we can; to get them to notice us and remember us; to nudge them; and, hopefully, get them to buy us once more this year.

"Our biggest challenge isn't about hyper-engagement. It's the fact that most of these people are indifferent to us."

Data sourced from Warc