Mars global CMO: Expecting brand love ‘a step too far’ for consumers

While many brands spend millions of pounds across the globe in a crusade to make consumers fall in love with them, Mars is bucking the trend and is instead trying to resonate with its shoppers on a more human level.

Speaking to The Drum global chief marketing officer Bruce McColl called the expectation of consumers to love a brand “one step too far” and admitted that Mars is “not a big believer” of love and loyalty.

“For most people out there buying our brands they don’t love us; we just have to accept that,” he said. “It goes against some of the popular stuff out there, [but] it’s hard enough to have relationships with real people. If you think about the people in your life; your family and friends how much time do you have to really connect with them? To ask consumers on mass to have that kind of relationship with brands is one step too far.”

McColl said the real challenge comes in accepting that you won’t be loved and then realising how the insight might shape your marketing strategy.

On the flipside the opportunity is that while consumers don’t necessarily love Mars, “They don’t reject us either,” added McColl. “The real challenge is they don’t really think about us – nobody wakes up and thinks ‘what does Snickers have to say today?’”

To address this Mars is trying to generate ideas that resonate with consumers on a more human level and layer it up with emerging technologies to “make that explode”. For example Mars’ recent advertising for Snickers has focussed around the tag line You’re Not You When You’re Hungry, a simple insight that the FMCG company realised could be used to create engaging adverts.

Mars is currently working with vloggers for a YouTube digital campaign and has just launched a Tinder marketing push which tells you how hungry you’d have to be to match with a person on the dating app.

Mars is also continuing to explore how it can use technology not just as a communication tool but as a way of serving its consumers after the successful roll out of Petfinder, a website that helps people adopt cats and dogs.

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