- Mars candy brand Snickers unveiled three new limited-edition "intense" flavors in a news release: Espresso, Fiery and Salty & Sweet. The candy bars feature the traditional peanuts and caramel, but with the added flavors of espresso, chili pepper or salt.
- To celebrate the new flavor launches, Snickers is hosting an "intense" escape-room style pop-up in New York City on June 19 that requires a reservation to attend. The escape-room challenges will be related to the new flavors. Visitors will have to complete each challenge within a specified time frame and will receive a "Flavor Diagnosis" at the end, identifying which flavor will best help fans "ward off intense hunger."
- The flavors are part of Snickers' ongoing "You're Not You When You're Hungry" campaign, with each new flavor corresponding to a hunger symptom. Espresso is "irritable," Fiery is "wimpy" and Salty & Sweet is
"indecisive." The campaign will include in-store promotions with Shazam, TV, print, online video ads, an interactive biometrics experience with Spotify and Coffee Labs and social media.
By jumping on the escape room trend, which requires strategic puzzle-solving skills and is popular among millennials and Gen Zers, Snickers is looking to target adventurous types and boost its social media following. Instagram reported a 16% increase in the use of the hashtags #escaperoom and #weescaped, along with an increase in the sharing of pictures of these experiences, since 2016, according to USA Today.
As more escape room facilities have popped up around the country, a variety of brands have gravitated toward the trend. For its Black Friday sale, Lowe's created a long-form video spot resembling live TV, where four craftspeople participated in an escape-room style obstacle course.
The Snickers effort has a strong mobile push with in-store promotions leveraging the Shazam app and biometric experiences on Spotify, underscoring the brand's interest in engaging young consumers while they are on-the-go this summer.
With the return of warm weather during the summer months, marketers are once again embracing unique experiences as a way to connect with consumers who are out and about looking for something interesting to do, a trend that was popular last summer. These events usually include interesting branded visuals and unique interactions, which visitors can photograph and share on social media, thereby giving brands a way to engage consumers who might not be interested in traditional ads. Last week, Amazon delivered a giant "Jurassic World" box to a Los Angeles mall as part of a cross-channel marketing stunt that also includes social media and Amazon Alexa.
The Snickers escape room shows the brand continuing to build You're Not You When You’re Hungry beyond TV spots. In November, it introduced the "Hungerithm," an algorithm that measured people's hunger levels on social media and offered real-time discounts for those who reached higher stages of "hangry." The addition of new flavors like chili pepper and espresso is in line with consumers' growing preferences for bold, spicy and diverse flavors.