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Angry Faux Cause Marketing from Snickers

Snickers, the candy bar brand from Mars Inc., is a prominent and generous supporter of the anti-hunger charity Feeding America. So why are they doing something that looks suspiciously like faux cause marketing?

The ad in question is from Sports Illustrated magazine and depicts a bee, a roaring grizzly bear, insult comedian Don Rickles, and actor Joe Pesci, who specializes in playing out-of-control-angry mob characters. The ad depicts a kind of gas gauge with an arrow and the headline “How Angry Does Hunger Make You?”

That headline seems custom-made for a cause marketing campaign.

Are you hungry enough to really do something about the crisis of the hungry in United States?, is where this ad could be heading. If so, kill two birds with one stone by grabbing a Snickers. When you do, we’ll make a donation to our long-time partner Feeding America.

But this isn't an ad or an effort in support of Feeding America.

Certainly past Snickers efforts for Feeding America have featured much more benign appeals. Here’s another ad from Sports Illustrated magazine almost exactly two years ago that I found in the Alden Keene Cause Marketing Database. It’s a straightforward call to action to support Feeding America with a play on words that reads, “Bar Hunger.”

But perhaps anger is an inappropriate emotion when supporting a nonprofit charity.

Maybe. But anger is used all the time in direct mail fundraising for nonprofits. And anger is the positive coin of the realm in nonprofit political fundraising. In the United States, political action committees, the political parties themselves, and other political groups rely on righteous indignation and fits of pique aimed at political opponents to generate fat donations.

All that said, I’ve never seen anger used, per se, in a cause marketing effort.

Maybe there's an opportunity herein for Snickers and Feeding America.

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