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“Left or Right Twix” Campaign
Advertising is the biggest tool in any field, and is the best way to notify one or more publics about a product, company, or service. In a way, advertising is much like Public Relations, aside from spreading the word, advertising can be used on almost every form of media (i.e. television, streaming services, print, social media). However, one difference is that advertising is paid for by the client who needs it for their campaigning. In general terms, advertising is important in the success of a company, campaign, product, or service, as without it, almost nobody would hear about it unless they did research on their own (which nobody has the time and patience for).
In class this semester, we discussed many aspects of advertisements and some to note are the psychological appeals. There are several different appeals used in campaigns, such as: informational appeals, emotional, patriotic, fear, achievement, success, power, humorous appeals and testimonials (McKinley, 2019). Of course, not every advertisement published uses every single one of these appeals, each has possibly one or two that fits with the content. For example, for decades now, we have known that cigarettes are terrible for your health, it has actually been scientifically proven. Therefore, most commercials regarding them are no longer positive and a meant to discourage their use, making the fear appeal the most appropriate. In this case, the use of humor may not work, as it could tarnish the serious tone that is meant to come across.
Moving forward, it is important as a company to use as many outlets as possible or applicable in order to make their campaign memorable. The more people see a message, the more aware of the brand and/or the product they are selling. Also dependent on the audience, there are some media that may be unavailable to them. Therefore, it would be important to at least try to cover all of the bases to ensure that whatever the campaign is about is heard. Some examples would be a campaign for a clothing line, if it were for older adults, radio, television, and perhaps Facebook would work. In the case of a clothing line for teens, websites, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and commercials on screening services would work best.
As we have discussed in class, when it comes to advertisements in all media, there are two main types of effects that they have on the audience: intentional and unintentional. The intentional effects we discussed are as follows: “product familiarity, brand loyalty, purchase preferences and purchase behaviors” (McKinley, 2019). These effects should be almost no surprise to anyone, professional or not, it is somewhat latent content that most would recognize. On the other hand, perhaps what could be more important to think about, are the unintentional effects of advertisement campaigns. This list is actually, surprisingly, longer than the one prior intentional effects: “materialism, conflict with parents, life dissatisfaction, debased culture, deception and confusion, and lastly, adopting unhealthy tendencies/behaviors” (McKinley, 2019).
It is also imperative to look at models and theories that explain the effects of persuasion in advertising, for example, the Elaboration Likelihood Model. This model, “explains the process of persuasion by identifying the likelihood of a person to elaborate cognitively or think very carefully about a persuasive message” (Bryant et. al., 2013). In this model, one can choose to use one of two routes, the central or the peripheral. Going with the central approach, this leads the audience member to really think and dig deep into the content to fully understand and judge it, this includes paying close attention to both specific visual and verbal cues (Bryant et. al., 2013). While on the other hand, the peripheral approach requires significantly less work on the part of the viewer.
This route focuses a lot more on, “simple cues in the context of the message are more responsible for the change in attitude,” (Bryant et. al., 2013). It would seem that the central route is more ideal, as of the results of a study recorded in which 187 undergraduate students were given booklets that described a few brands of beer with a lower alcohol content. Additionally, they were given another booklet that featured several other advertisements, both real and fictional (Andrews and Shimp, 1990). Once they were given some time to look these over, they were then handed a questionnaire to complete. Hypothesis one proposes, “high-involvement (central route) subjects will produce a greater number of total cognitive responses (i.e., message-oriented and source oriented thoughts) than will low-involvement (peripheral route) subjects” (Andrews and Shimp, 1990). It stands out the most, especially in consideration of the central and peripheral routes in the Elaboration Likelihood Model. It seems that this hypothesis was well-proven in the end via the cognitive response results. These would show that most subjects that followed the central route retained more information than those who followed the peripheral route (Andrews and Shimp, 1990).
Ideally, most successful companies put out advertisements that are not only spread across a variety of media, but also show some sense of morals/ethics. “It is believed that ethical advertising is a type of advertising that does not lie, promote forgery and lies within limits” (Constantin SASU et. al., 2015). In addition, an ethical and moral advertising campaign, should generally have respect for the audience consuming the contents of it and specifically should, “respect human freedom” (Constantin SASU et. al., 2015). While a good advertisement campaign should influence their consumers, the intention should never be to take control of their lives. Overall, the main concern when it comes to creating ethical content in this field, it would be wise to take into account: the concern for well-being, freedom, and to refrain from deception (to a degree).
The campaign I would like to discuss in this paper is the “Left or Right Twix” campaign that began a couple years ago and still continues to be found in media today. To be more specific, according to adweek.com, this campaign began in 2012 at the Cannes Lions festival (Nudd, 2017). Twix, is a popular candy bar that usually has two bars in one pack, but comes in many varieties of pack sizes and flavors. The candy bar itself is one of many under the MARS brand and consists of a chocolate shell with a cookie and caramel encased inside of it (marschocolate.com/twix). The campaign itself, has expanded into many commercials in the past several years, and the brand now puts the word “left” or “right” on their packaging (Nudd, 2017). In this campaign, as I have observed, the consumers are meant to pick one side to choose as their favorite, even though there is no difference as it is simply the same original bar in every pack.
Twix’s main consumers range from children to young adults, and to no surprise, Twix has social media accounts on a variety of platforms with the handle: @twix. Starting off with their Instagram page, which can simply be found through searching the name, “Twix.” The majority of the photos on this account are of the classic candy bar alone, and does include every size pack, as well as every flavor as you continue to scroll down. Thrown in there, occasionally, there are pictures of people holding the Twix bar: men and women, young and old (young people with makeup to look old). One more pattern, when it comes to the photos are some recipes and different ways to eat Twix, for example, with a cup of coffee (shown in a few pictures). Some popular hashtags used are: #LeftTWIX, #RightTWIX, #chocolate, #cookie, #caramel, and #TWIXcafe.
Their Twitter (@twix) also follows a similar pattern, but has also added in what are called GIFS, which are simply explained as repeating short videos. Facebook does this as well, except there is less use of hashtags, as they are not typically meant for this platform. Next, commercials on television, Twix has produced many over the years one of them is from 2017 and it starts off with two men who are glad that Twix has now made individual packs for the left Twix and the right Twix, the title is “Twix – It’s Time to DeSide – Mortician”. This commercial is meant to be funny, as it is essentially ironic, the men here say “I don’t know why they were in the same pack to begin with they got about as much in common as you a mortician and me an undertaker” (TwixVideos). Two more pairings of people making the same comparison: janitor and custodian, ghost and spirit. This is humorous because each pair of people are basically the same, just as the left and right twix are the same candy bar. Another advertisement, called “Twix and Coffee – Out of Order,” is of a young male office worker who has a right Twix bar and is trying to get coffee out of a machine. The issue here is that the coffee seems to only dispense if you are having it with a left Twix bar (TwixVideos).
The primary psychological appeal used within this ongoing campaign is the humorous appeal. From an academic standpoint, a study done in Thomas Cline and James Kellaris’s article, “The Influence of Humor Strength and Humor-Message Relatedness on Ad Memorability: A Dual Process Model.” From information they have gathered, the main point on humor in ads is that it has been known to have a positive and maybe even enhancing effect on consumers (Cline and Kellaris, 2007). When it comes to humor truly taking effect on people’s memory of an ad, there are two factors: humor strength and humor-message relatedness. The study observed a large class of students as they took a course that would show them a few versions of ads.
The students also completed a questionnaire, and what was then gathered from the results should be almost no surprise. “As anticipated, the data demonstrated that humor’s attention-gaining mechanisms (i.e., humor strength) may translate into positive effects for memory” (Cline and Kellaris, 2007). It seems that Twix did very well in using this appeal, as it seems their intent is to use humor in their ads. This campaign is funny because the entirety of it is meant to be ridiculous and to be silly, seeing that there is absolutely NO DIFFERENCE between a left or right twix. Referring back to the commercials on television specifically, each would seem to have an aim for making people laugh, like the “Twix – It’s Time to DeSide – Mortician” commercial.
Going way back to the early 2000s, Twix had a campaign called “Need a Moment?” in which the goal was to show that a Twix bar would give you a moment of relief to rethink a situation and then resume with a better outcome. Though, by critics’ standards, this was not a well-received idea, a Hawthor Legacy writer, despised the campaign. Among many others, just by a simple Google search, this writer expresses his intense distaste for what Twix published. “You shouldn’t need to chomp on a candy bar to get out of explaining your bad behaviour. You simply shouldn’t being behaving badly…” (Lindsay et. al., 2007).
Compared to their current campaign, it seems that their main goal was to create ads that are humorous and memorable, but forgot the ethical aspect. While Twix used to primarily depend on television ads, we now have so many social media platforms that can expand even further and open up for customer feedback via comments. Of course Twix is not the only candy/candy bar out there, especially in the realm of chocolate. Another popular Mars candy bar is the Snickers bar, which also seems to play with a change in packaging and advertising to get the people’s attention. Their ongoing campaign is the “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” in which commercials show a person in the form of another person (or celebrity) that is in some sort of distress, but goes back to them self after a snickers bar (McCutcheon, 2014). I have seen this first-hand and noticed that they have added on their packs different feelings like cranky or some sort of angry or crazy, this campaign has also gained some mixed responses.
As we discussed in class, ads have both intentional and unintentional effects on audience members consuming the content. Intentional effects include product familiarity and purchasing preferences, while unintentional effects include deception or confusion, and possibly unhealthy behaviors (McKinley, 2019). With the Twix campaign, I hypothesize that while the goal may be intentional and obvious, the campaign is actually heavy on its unintentional effects. The effect to focus on in this case is the development of unhealthy behaviors, specifically in eating. While Twix has done a great job at making their brand name known worldwide, they also unintentionally encourage poor eating behaviors. The United States alone has already been known to be an overall unhealthy country, but one might be surprised to know that television (where many ads are found) has a huge impact on eating behaviors.
The American Psychological Association has found that, “children who watch more than three hours of television a day are 50 per cent more likely to be obese than children who watch fewer than two hours” (American Psychological Association, n.d.). They have also found that children ages 8 to 12 are the most at risk as they are heading toward puberty and are heading toward more independent decision-making (American Psychological Association, n.d.). So, it would appear that it would be ideal for Twix advertisements to then try to influence this decision-making to get their young audience to choose their bar for a snack. Once again, now more than ever, our population is very brand-conscious and Twix wants its name out there, but it would seem that they persist in unintentionally encouraging young people to fall into poor eating habits.
Once again, the Elaboration Likelihood Model provides strong support for this effect and all unintentional effects in advertising. People usually watch advertisements without really thinking about it, mostly because they are focused more on the show that they were watching which has been interrupted by a short break. This aspect, could then refer back to the area of the peripheral route of this model, which in a brief explanation is the type of route that requires very little in-depth analyzation (Bryant et. al., 2013). Therefore, with very weak cognitive thought, unintentional effects have every chance to go way over someone’s head and they may not ever realize it. The audience of Twix bars probably does not think much of the caloric content of the candy, nor the possible development of making consumption into a habit. Even further, by dividing Twix consumers into choosing the left or right Twix bar could be connected to what is called the “bandwagon effect” which basically gets people to assume that because others are doing something, they are more tempted to buy into whatever it is (Bryant et. al., 2013).
If I was the head of an advertising firm that would be responsible for revamping the campaign, I’d start with the ethical aspect of it. I must however, establish that for the most part, I would leave the “Left and Right Twix” campaign as it is, since it seems to have been doing pretty well and as a consumer, I like how it has been executed. First, within the ads across both television and social media, I would like to add something in relation to consumption habits. One product that already does this, which is clearly very different, is alcohol. Every single alcohol ad, and often even the bottles, include the phrase “drink responsibly.” However, telling our consumer to “eat responsibly” in order to encourage only occasional snacking on the Twix bar may not work out so well. Therefore, maybe stressing in advertisements in subtle ways that this is just a snack may work.
In regard to which outlets I’d employ for this campaign, I’d still use Instagram and Twitter, but maybe not Facebook if I were to revamp this campaign. The current campaign seems to target people from children, all the way up to young adults, most of which do not really use Facebook anymore. Television would absolutely be key to advertising for many reasons, the first being that every home has at least one. Many studies, much like the one done by the American Psychological Association referred to in part two of this paper, that from at least the ages of 2 to 17, individuals are heavily influenced by television (American Psychological Association, n.d.).
Seeing as Twix has already done so many and comes out with more once in a while, I’d say moving forward that the possibilities seem somewhat endless. Television commercials seem to have no limit when it comes to making more ads for this campaign and the same applies to social media. Following the same kind of variety in ads, while also building onto it by following social trends (i.e. dance moves or clothing or music). In addition to this, perhaps the creation of some sort of Twix merchandise (i.e. a sweatshirt) could also help with marketing, especially when it comes to the “Left or Right Twix” campaign, the merchandise can have the options to say either “left Twix” or “right Twix” on it.
I’d avoid print ads, because again, Twix’s advertising mainly appeals to a younger audience who are all about technology. Ads would be aired through Television during each holiday season like they already do, but to also incorporate new ads every few months as new trends emerge in the media (i.e. new fashion trends, new memes, etc) to shake things up a little and do something different. On the social media part of this campaign, one post should go out at the very least three to four times a month. Looking onto the appeals that would be used in this revamped campaign, I would keep on using the humorous appeal, but it would be interesting to try and use the emotional appeal.
Emotions are engraved into human nature and often seem to drive how people react and perceive the world. In this case though, the emotional appeal would work the best around the holidays, but has the possibility to work year-round. To employ this, the advertising firm could come up with some Twix advertisements that are more family and friends oriented. By doing so, Twix reaches a variety of age groups of course, but family is an important factor in everyone’s life no matter what kind of family. More importantly, family is heavily attached to emotions like love, happiness, and comfort. Twix should want their fans to feel these sort of positive emotions when they think of and even consume the chocolate-covered cookie and caramel bar.
I’d like to incorporate memes in the social media aspect of this campaign as meme culture has become very popular in the last few years and would catch the attention of many of the target audience. When it comes to images, most of Twix’s current postings on social media is of the product itself, but I feel in order to really revamp this campaign we need to incorporate more pictures of people, more specifically those who look like the consumers (young adults, teens, kids, and family). One idea I have when it comes to new slogans on all media platforms, including television is an ad that could push the idea of left and right Twix further. Maybe something like “Left Twix: a good snack to put in your backpack” and “Right Twix: the only treat missing from your movie night.” Also, I’d avoid using any language that sounds too serious and maybe even what some people would consider sounding “old.” It is important to stick to the language that the audience (kids and young adults) uses, including the current and popular slang used.
This revamped campaign would actually still do a lot of what Twix has already been doing, as there is very little wrong with it to me. The new campaign only adds a few more improvements, for example, really tailoring the social media platforms to the audience and also expanding the audience. Twix can keep Twitter and Instagram, but it is time to get rid of Facebook because not many people (kids to young adults) use it as much anymore. This new campaign also has a new ethical standpoint in that this campaign would try to prevent or at least slow down unhealthy eating, or overconsumption of the product. In addition, now, Twix would reach more audience members by appealing to emotion via the family. We could even reach parents better, since some of our audience members are too young to have their own money to buy Twix bars. Most importantly, it would use a lot more photos of people and I’d actually like to use both models and fans when doing so. In turn, giving more of a face and a community-feel to the product, making it more than just a chocolate bar.
One final hypothesis for this revamped campaign for Twix is that it would provide more positive, intentional effects and move away from unintentional, negative effects. While leaving the campaign mostly as it has been, adding in the elements above like tailoring the media, age inclusion, people in photo advertisements, adapting with social culture, and raising concern for healthy habits is important. I believe that by moving the campaign this way, it would lead to more intentional effects like product familiarity, brand loyalty and purchase behaviors (McKinley, 2019). This would then minimize the chance of unintentional effects, primarily unhealthy behaviors, but perhaps also avoid deception (deception, like advertising that Twix bars are okay to be snacking on every day).
- Andrews, J. C., & Shimp, T. A. (1990). Effects of Involvement, Argument Strength, and Source Characteristics on Central and Peripheral Processing of Advertising. Psychology & Marketing, 7(3), 195–214. https://doi.org/10.1002/mar.4220070305
- Bryant, J., & Thompson, S. (2013). Persuasion. Fundamentals of media effects (2nd ed.) (pp135-151). Boston. MA: McGraw Hill. [B&T]
- Cline, T. W., & Kellaris, J. J. (2007). The Influence of Humor Strength and Humor—Message Relatedness on Ad Memorability. Journal of Advertising, 36(1), 55–67. https://doi.org/10.2753/JOA0091-3367360104
- Constantin SASU, Geanina Constanța PRAVĂȚ, & Florin-Alexandru LUCA. (2015). Ethics and Advertising. SEA: Practical Application of Science, (7 (1/2015)), 513. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsdoj&AN=edsdoj.05a1518a103b439f9a9bba810edac802&site=eds-live&scope=site
- Lindsay, RB, C., Chancho, Casey, & Richard. (2007, October 14). The Twix “Need a Moment?” campaign. Retrieved May 01, 2019, from https://thehathorlegacy.com/the-twix-need-a-moment-campaign/
- McCutcheon, R. (2017, January 13). “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry”. Retrieved May 01, 2019, from https://edge.ua.edu/russell-mccutcheon/youre-not-you-when-youre-hungry/
- McKinley (Spring 2019) CMST255_02, Special Topics in Communication and Media: Media Effects
- (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://marschocolate.com/twix
- Nudd, T. (2017, March 20). Twix Escalates Rivalry Between Left and Right Twix by Giving Them Their Own Packs. Retrieved April 28, 2019, from https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/twix-escalates-rivalry-between-left-and-right-twix-by-giving-each-their-own-packs/
- The Impact of Food Advertising on Childhood Obesity. (n.d.). Retrieved May 01, 2019, from https://www.apa.org/topics/kids-media/food
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