Mars, Incorporated

Right message, right place, right time

The brief

Mars wanted to consider whether consumers are more likely to be receptive to their advertising or marketing in different situations. To move away from targeting people at home and on-the-go in the same way, through the same channels, with the same messages. By doing so, they could make Snickers more likely to be chosen in the moments that matter using behavioural insights about impulsive snacking. As well as all the capabilities afforded by new media and technology to put the right message, in the right place at the right time.

The work

A study was designed with 400 respondents, using a purpose-built mobile app, which initiated data collection instruments, while collecting passive smartphone logs continuously.

With considerable evidence to show that context influences advertising receptivity and subsequent buying, we tested the notion of linking (a) purchase propensity to (b) personal context to (c) online activity.

We wanted to find a personal contextual variable highly related to ‘when’ people are likely to snack on chocolate (our test category). We looked to the psychology literature and chose mood for its long history with snacking behaviour. The purpose of this work was, therefore, to mine the real-time digital activity of those in target mood states in an attempt to build contextual profiles for the purpose of programmatic media buying.

Our findings were later published in the Admap article, Using smartphone data and machine learning to predict snack impulse buying, WARC, October 2017.