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Butterfinger, Lloyd’s of London, and a Free Candy Bar?


How could I not mention this? Bar Insurance…and no, I don’t mean Liquor Liability.

You may have always associated Butterfingers with Bart Simpson, but a recently launched Butterfinger promotion had me doing a double take when I came across a mention of it in the Insurance Journal.

As part of its new Butterfinger advertising campaign, Nestle USA said it has taken out a $1 million policy with Lloyd’s of London to ensure the promise behind its tagline to ensure consumers can “always lay a finger on their Butterfinger.”

The Butterfinger Bar Insurance program is offering online claimants a coupon for a free replacement if someone else lays a finger on their candy bars, and notes that “truth is optional.”

It’s hard to tease out the fact from the fiction concerning this promotion, and I found it doubtful that the Lloyd’s policy had been taken out to insure stolen candy bars.  Closer examination of the promotion’s YouTube video reveals some fine print which states:

“Insurance Policy with Lloyd’s only insures that Nestle will not permanently cease production of Butterfinger during the policy term.”  

And “The Butterfinger Bar Insurance Program is a separate promotion offer providing for the replacement of the first 100,000 bars redeemed online. The Separate insurance policy with Lloyd’s will not insure consumers in the even their bars are alleged to be or actually are lost or stolen.”

So, rest assured, while Lloyd’s may insure famous body parts, it was not actually issuing coupons for candy bars as the article above alludes to. However, the use of an insurance policy to create a story and some buzz around this promotion is interesting, and may be a good study in combining social media with traditional advertizing.

Take a look at the Nestle Press Release, which was put out about half way through the 14 day campaign. Notice that the focus is not just on explaining the contest, as they reached their “Bar Insurance Program limit” within 16 hours of Launch. Instead, the press release focuses on the other gains they had with the campaign, including some of the Social Media milestones they achieved:

  • All 100,000 Butterfinger replacement bars claimed within the first 16 hours of the announcement
  • More than 20,000 stories of bar theft submitted in the contest
  • Butterfinger Bar Insurance program follows news report of police investigating Butterfinger theft in the suburban community of Taylor, Texas, northeast of Austin – Dubbed the “Butterfinger Burglar” by media, the thief dropped the victim’s wallet but fled the residence with the victim’s package of Butterfinger candy bars!
  • Nestle Butterfinger executives meeting to take steps to protect and defend Butterfinger bars nationwide against the growing epidemic of bar theft
  • Butterfinger fan page on Facebook gained 11,657 new fans within first 12 hours of Bar Insurance program
  • More than 2,000 Twitter and Facebook fans followed or tweeted about the Butterfinger Bar Insurance announcement

In addition to a homepage and Facebook fan page, the brand is active on Twitter – even responding to Insurance Association Staff who are baffled by the IJ headline.

While I find the approach to the campaign interesting, as an insurance person I was sort of put off by the way the campaign plays with what is really insured here. But then again, it seems that most people weren’t concerned about who was insuring what…they just wanted the free candy bar.  What do you think?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/14/2010 8:01 am

    Lloyd’s is notorious for headline grabbing so this is not surprising, but I agree that it takes an already misunderstood subject like insurance and adds another layer of crunchy, peanut buttery confusion. You can’t argue with the numbers though, so from a marketing perspective, this has to be viewed as a wild success.

    Who would ever think an American candy car and a storied British insurer would ever join forces? It should make agencies think hard about the partnerships they already have and how a little creativity can be used to breathe fresh life into old relationships (as I eat a chocolate Butterfinger Easter Egg).

  2. 04/14/2010 11:30 am

    You make a great point- sometimes the best relationships and outcomes stem from unlikely places.

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