Success Stories: SNICKERS® NFL Rookie Mistake of the Year

The following article is a case study for the SNICKERS® NFL Rookie Mistake of the Year program, winner of P2PI’s 2023 OmniShopper Award for Best Digital Mobile Activation.

Objectives: The campaign’s primary objective was to drive awareness and conversion among light and lapsed SNICKERS consumers by executing a 360-degree omnichannel campaign under the “SNICKERS Rookie Mistake” theme that successfully launched in 2021.

Conceptually, a secondary goal was to leverage the brand’s relationship with National Football League talent to drive permissibility and position SNICKERS as “the player’s choice” for a recharging reward across all relevant seasonal windows and touch points (including Super Bowl LVII).

Our primary KPIs were:

  • Sales lift
  • Digital/Social engagement
  • Sweepstakes entries

Target Audience: Our primary target shoppers were casual and avid football fans under 35 years old, especially light and lapsed SNICKERS buyers. While the brand’s football credentials are typically strong with avid fans due to its longstanding sponsorships, casual fans are a young, growing group of consumers more interested in the social connections and cultural impact around NFL teams and players than they are with details about the games themselves.

The secondary target was household gatekeepers who make purchases for football-relevant occasions (viewing parties, tailgates, rewards for kids in youth leagues), including shoppers with an affinity for also buying beer and salty snacks.

Activation: SNICKERS first leveraged its status as lead NFL sponsor in the Mars Wrigley portfolio to conduct a “Rookie Mistake of the Year” campaign in 2021. The brand wanted to again encourage fans to share their own personal “Rookie Mistake” for a chance to win tickets to Super Bowl LVII but needed to incorporate learnings from the first year to make the second activation even bigger and better.

One key initiative this time was to ensure stronger, ongoing engagement with brand shoppers throughout the duration of the NFL year, which ran from the season-opening NFL Kickoff to Super Bowl LVII. To keep our target audience engaged for that length of time, it was imperative for our communication to remain cohesive and relevant throughout the course of the campaign.

The ultimate program boasted a 360-degree, through-the-line activation designed to engage the NFL community by encouraging fans to share their rookie mistakes with the brand. SNICKERS and The Mars Agency utilized a wide range of tactics to connect with the community at various touch points, regularly refreshing the creative and messaging to correspond with key moments throughout the season.

For the regular NFL season running September to December, we created a campaign anchored by a unique, highly entertaining AR Experience (see below).

Throughout the campaign, we implemented a variety of engaging platforms and tactics, including:

  • Radio promotions (via IHeartRadio) across 75 major markets.
  • A targeted mobile navigation campaign (with Waze) that included screen takeovers and branded pins directing drivers to retailer partners.
  • Connected TV (CTV) promotions (through Vericast) that delivered national and local messaging, including team-specific creative.
  • Gas-pump advertising (via GSTV) outside convenience stores in 120 markets.
  • Digital banners (via Aki Technologies) that ran extensively throughout November, and influencer kits. Creative for the tactics was designed to drive household penetration and sweeps entries.
  • Influencer kits (with Inmar Intelligence) that 10 key influencers “unboxed” in video reels and stories linking to a “Where to Buy” page.
  • In-store shelf talkers (through Neptune Retail Solutions) in 3,735 Kroger and Albertsons stores.
  • Promotional packaging featuring a QR code linking to the AR experience.

Unique Activation Touchpoints: The AR experience (produced with partner Blippar) delivered a contextually relevant moment that leveraged NFL talent to drive truly memorable interaction with consumers. Borrowing on nostalgia for the classic “Magic 8 Ball” toy, fans were encouraged to run a questionable decision by NFL star Stefon Diggs through the Rookie Mistake “Magic Football.” Diggs then encouraged them to enter their mistake into the sweeps, which could be accessed directly from the experience.

The experience achieved national scale for SNICKERS, firmly established the brand’s ties to the NFL, and drove additional sweeps entries, elevating SNICKERS from ​​a confectionary category partner to the “Ultimate Reward” for players and fans alike.

Results: The campaign exceeded expectations and industry benchmarks across nearly all tactics, ultimately resulting in substantial sales growth for SNICKERS and category growth for partnering retailers. The effort delivered 85.5 million total impressions across the various digital, mobile and in-store media activations. Nearly 21,000 consumers visited the AR experience, with one in five entering the sweeps.

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