Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We are all grown ups here....

An interesting story broke over the weekend, which got me thinking...

Mars (the chocolate bar people, not the planet) has reduced the size of its iconic bar by 11% - from 60g to 53g. They are keeping the price the same.

And why did they say they did it?

To help us fight obesity.

Because removing that last mouthful from your calorie-packed afternoon naughty will make all the difference....

Mars' actions are intiguing to me. They demonstrate either opportunism (I can picture an over excited product manager; "Hey, can we make this a good spin? It's going to go down really well... I have seen loads in the press recently about obesity") or fear (VP marketing; "Since Caburys launched that thing that looks a bit like a Mars bar our ratings are taking a tumbling - our focus group results strongly indicate a risk of consumers feeling ripped off in these economic times. We need to save money but lets make it look like we are doing it for *their* sake." Goodness maybe its even the 21st century incarnation of their old tag line; A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play. Its all about healthy lifestyles afterall.

But is there really anyone that would fall for this? Is it necessary to find a positive angle in everything?

If Mars' motivation was health related it could either have taken 11% of every Mars bar sale after the bar size reduction and donated it to appropriate health charities, or cut the price - because this isn't about money.

Frankly, as a savvy consumer I know its financially motivated and you know what, I don't mind. It's Mars' business and if I want a Mars bar I will buy a Mars bar (hey, we all know Wagon Wheels are smaller than they used to be, and it doesn't stop me!).

It's just rather patronising to see an entire corporate comms team and its PR agency go to all that effort to communicate such nonsense to me. Makes me think that they reckon I am thick. Not a nice brand message.

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