Chris Kyme: Postcard from Hong Kong

Chris Kyme_April2016.jpgChris Kyme continues his "Postcards from..." series and this time he is concerned at a noticeable change in creative direction for iconic brand Snickers in the Hong Kong market..

Happy New March!

I've sat down to write this about six times now. It started out as 'Happy New Year' which has swiftly become 'Happy New March' (gulp!) but what the hell. It's been a busier than usual start to the year so one thing led to another.

Anyway. There I was skipping along on a bright cheery January/February/March morning, happily contemplating who Arsenal were going to thrash that coming weekend (see - I told you it was a few months ago..fat chance that now..) when I was stopped in my tracks by a picture of sheer obscenity. I mean, don't they have authorities who are supposed to protect the public from this kind of thing?
There it was staring at me in broad daylight - a giant product shot. Not only that, it was hard sell with at least 15 logos and some sort of diagram pointing out product features (see pic).

Snickers.jpgIf it was another shampoo poster I would understand, what with their Special Formula XS2 with Pro-Vota Anti-Hairdronics systems and all that. But this was for a chocolate bar. What's more, a chocolate bar that (1) has been around for donkeys years and (2) has seen some pretty good campaigns over the years, especially of late.

Yes folks, I'm talking about, the death of Snickers. Or death of a campaign we've all seen and liked over the past few years. I do understand the need for a bit of hard sell from time to time when sales are looking a bit unappetising, but to completely abandon a perfectly great global brand idea? Just like the way Coca Cola walked away from 'Happiness' a couple of years ago, and resorted to doing advertising that looked like outtakes from The Partridge Family album cover shoots all over again (Taste the feelin' - hey!). I know, I know, it's not all bad (hey you don't live where I live).

We're all surrounded by, and many have to work on, mundane brand campaigns every day. But it's sad when it's a brand that in recent years has produced some very entertaining work, especially the TV spots. Especially here in Hong Kong where the 'You're not you' platform (which, let's face it, could be for any chewy nutty chocolatey munchy bar that hits the spot) was adapted and given a local twist to hilarious affect with politicians that went nuts (arf arf) in social media. And we've all seen the other executions. 'You're not you when you're hungry' was one of those ideas that started somewhere else, worked its way around the world, showed what could be done, before hungry creative rebels saw the potential and said "Hey - we've got this client, let's see what we can do on it." Think Axe/Lynx.

Snickers 2.pngCampaigns borne out of useful insights by helpful agency planners who go "There you are, take this and see what you can do". The thing is, we all know it's really hard to sell in a genuine brand idea that has legs and can go on and on and be adopted the world over because it's based on something truly universal that works anywhere (as opposed to the usual Global Bland Ideas).

SnickersHK.jpgWhat's more, there is now a widening gap between the 'agency initiative work' that clogs the award show arteries every year these days, and that what gets produced on real briefs with real media campaigns. Which is why it's all the more inspiring when the work that's winning is real. Which is why I thought this was sad. So, I understand. Some product news. It has to be highlighted with graphic details. Sorry, I rant. Probably the clients were hungry when they signed off on it.

Chris Kyme is chief executive officer at Kymechow, Hong Kong.

VIEW CHRIS KYME'S JANUARY 2017 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S NOVEMBER 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S OCTOBER 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S AUGUST 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S JULY 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S JUNE 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S MAY 2016 POSTCARD
VIEW CHRIS KYME'S APRIL 2016 POSTCARD

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