Brand: Starburst (Mars, Incorporated)
Link: Click Here (click on the tape labeled ‘Friends’)
Target: Angst-Ridden Teens
A teenage boy approaches a group of his friends sitting in a stone pavillion in a park. He is pale and feral looking, like an extra from the Addams Family. As he approaches the group, a girl says ‘Hey Robert.’ Then we begin to hear an evil voice inside his head. It says, “Look, Robert. It’s your friends. They’ll want you share your Starburst. But what if you had no friends?” Guided by this voice, Robert grabs food from one of his friends and throws it away as the voice says, “Yes – that’s it. Now the girl.” Then he grabs the girl’s bag and empties it on the ground. “The shirt! Rip it – Rip it!!!” the voice commands and he rips open his last friend’s shirt. As they stare at him in horror, he turns away with a small smile on his face, clutching his Starburst. The voice says, “Yes! I think that went well.” The spot cuts to a product shot of Starburst with the tagline “Blame the Juicy Goodness.”
The branding in this spot is strong. Starburst is the anti-hero, compelling the protagonist to abandon his friends to avoid sharing. We hear the ‘Starburst’ brand name a few seconds into the spot and see it several times before the product shot at the end.
The reality-television style cinematography in this spot will be familiar to the target audience and gives intimacy to the story. It makes Robert seem more like an ordinary (if disturbed) boy.
The black humor in this spot may be memorable for the target audience.
The brand positioning for Starburst in this spot is generic. The idea that Starburst is so good that you’ll do anything to avoid sharing it says nothing new or unique about the brand. Because the brand positioning is so generic, it will be even harder for the brand to achieve memorability with this spot in spite of the fact that it is a respectable execution of the advertising strategy. From Slim Jims to Skittles, the teen snack market is littered with brands that have similar if not overlapping positioning which will make the landscape much less familiar to any but the brand faithful. On top of this, Starburst runs some small risk of alienating parents with the Columbine-style depiction of an isolated teenager moved to commit violent (if not injurious) acts.
Branding Bottom Line:
Starburst whispers in our ear, but we can’t remember what it said.