“That’s Not What Your Girlfriend Says!” What Betty White and Snickers Teach Us About the Value of Brand Positioning Strategy

It’s that time of year again – Super Bowl weekend! We’re guessing that, like millions of Americans, you trotted out your favorite tailgate recipes, watched hours of breathless coverage and enjoyed seeing the advertising standouts during commercial breaks.

It’s amazing how Super Bowl ads have become almost as important as the game itself, as big-name brands compete to be the topic of conversation around the office water cooler. With price tags upwards of $5 million for a 30-second spot, you’d better believe that marketing departments spend months planning, reviewing and perfecting their ads in hopes of nabbing a place in the marketplace’s collective consciousness.

There are many standout ads we still talk about decades later. The “Hey kid – catch!” of Coke’s 1979 “Mean Joe Green.” The ground- and screen-breaking vision of 1984 in Apple’s “Sledgehammer.” The ever-present and ever-parodied Budweiser “Frogs” and “Whassaaaap” –  and, of course, that same beer company’s heartwarming commercials featuring the Clydesdales.

It makes one wonder what these commercials have in common. What’s the secret sauce that transformed them from so many flashes-in-the-pan to iconic classics for all time?

At Sage Age Strategies, we believe that, much like having a winning game plan that a team executes flawlessly on the field, a winning ad is a combination of two things: 1) a brand positioning strategy that deeply resonates with consumers, and 2) a memorable creative execution.

To illustrate this, let’s dissect one of our favorite Super Bowl ads – the 2010 Snickers commercial featuring everyone’s beloved Golden Girl, Betty White.

Picture it: A group of burly guys are playing tackle football with Betty White. She goes out for a pass (running a slant pattern) and is tackled into a mud puddle, dropping the pass. Returning to the huddle, Betty’s exasperated teammate exclaims, “Mike! What is your deal, man?” After some pointed trash talk between Betty and the guys, a young girl on the sidelines intercedes and hands Betty a Snickers bar. Betty takes a bite of the candy bar and is transformed into the young man, “Mike.” “Better,” the girl asks? “Better,” Mike says. On the next play, the rejuvenated Mike goes out for a pass, yelling, “I’m open!” Unfortunately, the quarterback (who must be hungry) has turned into octogenarian actor Abe Vigoda and gets sacked for a loss.  

The voiceover intones, “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” and the ad cuts to a title card that reads, “Snickers Satisfies.”

The ad is clever, funny and memorable, no doubt. But the deeper reason it works so well is the pitch-perfect brand strategy behind it, which can be summed up in two words: Snickers Satisfies.

We measured the ad against the “9 Success Factors of Any Good Brand Strategy” created by Smart Insights, to see how Snickers commercial and subsequent campaign hits on each one of the factors:

  • Understands and targets your audience: Anyone who gets “hangry” and needs to eat to feel like themselves again.

  • Has a unique, strong value proposition: “Snickers Satisfies”

  • Has a consistent approach: Snickers followed through with a hysterically funny campaign featuring, among other people, Willem DaFoe dressed as Marilyn Monroe

  • Shows out-of-the-box thinking: Need we say more than Betty White playing tackle football?

  • Builds passion in your customers: In the first year of the campaign, sales of Snickers increased by 15.9 percent.

  • Keeps your brand’s objective front and center: Snickers did that with a laser-like focus by positioning Snickers as the answer to “hanger.”

  • Has exceptional brand slogan and tagline: “Snickers Satisfies”

  • Shows how your brand provides value: The promise of being the candy bar that satisfies you when you’re so hungry, you’re not yourself.

  • Great exposure: We’re still talking about it years later.

The bottom line is, a good brand strategy positions your brand where nobody else is. No other candy bar in the marketplace was delivering on the promise of being the candy bar that satisfies you when you’re so hungry, you’re not yourself. Instead, most candy companies talk about how delicious their product is (Mounds®), or how nostalgic their product is (Toll House® Chocolate Chips) or focuses on the unique features of the product (Kit Kat®, Reese's Pieces®, Peanut Butter Cups).

When it comes to breaking through the clutter and standing out from the competition – whether you’re Snickers or a senior living community – strategy is key. The trick is to analyze the marketplace and position your community as the answer to a specific need your prospects might not even know they have until they hear about it from you.

At Sage Age, we know that breakthrough strategies don’t happen overnight. As experts in the senior living field, we have extensive experience in helping brands position themselves as the solution for their prospects. And unlike Snickers, you don’t have to pay $5 million to get results.

Providing Brand Positioning Expertise and Integrated Marketing Strategies that Generate Results

If your senior living community needs assistance in developing a brand positioning or integrated marketing strategy that engages, informs and attracts your consumers, Sage Age Strategies can help. Our professional team of integrated marketing experts excels in telling the story of your brand throughout all forms of media in ways that are compelling and generate leads.

We use our 35 years of experience plus the latest best-practice knowledge to optimize your reach, leverage your brand’s unique value propositions and directly engage with your consumer base to successfully increase and convert prospects in your sales funnel.

Sage Age Strategies: Leaders in Integrated Marketing, Consulting and Lead Generation Solutions for Senior Living

At Sage Age Strategies, our marketing team excels in the latest senior living best practices such as integrated marketing and social media strategy that increase quality lead generation and grow your occupancy. If you need assistance in any areas of marketing and integrated growth strategy to improve your business results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours.

Sage Age Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email Jason McCloud at 614.795.7373 / jason@sageagestrategies.com. You can also visit us on our website at https://www.sageagestrategies.com/.