NEW YORK: Mars' Snickers brand joined with Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity, to create Bar Hunger, a campaign to help feed the 36 million Americans who go hungry each day. Snickers plans to donate three million meals over the course of the year and has included the Feed America logo on packaging of select candy bars.
To launch the campaign, actor and chairman of Feeding America's Entertainment Council David Arquette spent the better part of two days, July 14 and 15, in a Plexiglas media lounge erected atop the Madison Square Garden marquee in New York. Arquette held interviews with newspapers, bloggers, and morning shows in the lounge.
“We wanted something big, and what's bigger than the Garden in New York? We have posters and billboards up, and 1.8 million eyes will be on that advertising,” said Ryan Bowling, PR manager for Mars Snackfoods.
“David will be Tweeting, updating the Facebook page, and posting videos to our YouTube channel,” said Bowling. “We hope this will spur the endurance of the campaign.” Snickers has agreed to match donations up to $25,000 made through its Facebook page. Donations of $5 can also be made by texting “BAR” to 90999 through the end of the year.
Weber Shandwick, which handles a majority of PR for Mars “confection” business, is helping to direct PR for the campaign, he added. It also enlisted the help of Agency.com to develop a social media presence. Mars previously worked with Agency.com on the Skittles.com makeover.
Mars has worked with Feeding America before, though primarily through its Uncle Ben's brand (two Mars executives sit on the charity's board). “We wanted to find a way to use the iconic Snickers brand to spread awareness,” said Bowling. “One out of eight people in America don't know where their next meal is coming from. They need more than a Snickers bar.”
Promotional events continue later this month when racer Kyle Busch will be driving a Bar Hunger car in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, a Nascar Sprint Cup race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The campaign will continue through 2009, and more events are being planned for next year.