Marketing has gotten a lot tougher and more complex with multi-channel -- the coexistence and integration of many marketing venues at the same time. With online marketing interacting with broadcast media, print, and social media, just to name a few types, causing campaigns to be noticed, let alone go viral, is extraordinarily tough.

But still possible. Candy giant Mars, working with the agency Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, got beyond questions of whether their online ads are seen, as Adweek reported. The pair worked with convenience store chain 7-Eleven in Australia and went straight for genius with an amazing campaign that combined social media, pricing, and long-term brand positioning.

The concept was called Hungerithm. To understand it, remember the series of commercials the company has run over the last few years. There's some situation where you unexpected see a celebrity standing in for someone else in a strange context, whether Betty White playing football or Willem Dafoe playing Marilyn Monroe. The celebrity is in a bad mood and someone says that they get cranky when they hungry and offer the name a Snickers bar. Suddenly, they're better, the real person is in place, and all goes along.

Mars has set up that correlation between mood and hunger and then has suggested its product as a practical solution. That adds a new layer of presumed benefit, which may be a first in the candy business.

Next step, Mars extends the concept into Australian 7-Elevens by letting the mood of the internet dictate prices. The angrier things are online, the cheaper the candy bars are. The system monitors 14,000 social posts a day, analyzes them with a 3,000-word lexicon, and supposedly understands slang and sarcasm.

More than 140 times a day the system reprices the candy bars. Prices can plummet to as much as 82 percent off list price. Consumers can monitor the progress on mobile phones and lock in a price for a period of time so they can get a candy bar.

That's pure brilliance. The campaign leverages the overall branding and marketing strategy that's been in place, brings in the internet, and lets people participate online, then ties all that back to the in-store purchase. And beyond the practical use of gaining data and seeing what people are doing, it's witty and engaging. How incredibly smart.

Published on: May 26, 2016
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