When driving around the Upper East Side of NYC last weekend, I noticed the rooftop ad on a yellow taxi cab. It was simply a single word: PEANUTOPOLIS. The typography was very familiar. It was the Snickers® candy bar logo. I recognized it instantly and I said so to my wife when we saw it. I made a mental note to myself to google it when I got home. Amazingly enough, there is very little on the web about this. The Snickers website [snickers.com] has no reference of their new viral marketing campaign, however they proudly display their two recent television spots which are overlapping with this viral campaign nicely (I actually just saw one of their spots while typing this entry).


The little I did find on the web were a few personal photos on flickr and a single blog entry… oh, and some humorous parodies of the campaign over at brand spankin. Where are the bloggers at??

PEANUTOPOLISHere’s what I’ve gathered. This is a viral marketing campaign by Mars, Inc. (Snickers brand parent company). Their agency is TBWA/Chiat/Day. They have crafted several made-up words, framed in the snickers-style logotype. The words that have surfaced so far are PEANUTOPOLIS (seems to be the most frequently seen), HUNGERECTOMY, SUBSTANTIALICIOUS and NOUGATACITY. I’ve personally witnessed the campaign in NYC and the flickr photos show them on the SEPTA bus, which is Philadelphia’s public transportation system, Los Angeles (Hollywood) and the other blog entry mentioned seeing them in Boston.

We could be witnessing a very targeted test market of only the biggest cities, or this could be a full-blown national campaign that, unfortunately, nobody is talking about…which would suck for Mars & TBWA/Chiat/Day. The problem with viral marketing is that sometimes people DON’T talk about it.

They see it.
They may chuckle.
They may think it’s witty.
But they don’t retain the experience and therefore don’t pass it on to someone else, thus ending the spread of the virus.

Personally, I’m a fan of the concept. I think the words their agency invented are fun and memorable. The typography and design skill is flawless. It’s a really good idea… however, not knowing when this campaign launched, it is hard to measure its success. Only time will tell… and Snickers market share. One thing’s for sure, the internet community and blogosphere is not talking about it. At least, not yet.

Have you seen any of these? Where? What did it say? What do you think of the concept? Do you like viral marketing?

EDIT: Added 7/20/06 11:30 AM
Well, it seems more bloggers are talking about this campaign. Here’s a few links:
The Sherman Foundation (via: AdFreak.com)