Ad Of The Week

Butterfingers' Detectives Back On The Effectiveness Case

4.0

At System1 we’re particular fans of two things: tasty candy and strong brand characters. And those two things just happen to go together very well, as Ferrero’s Butterfinger brand is the latest to demonstrate. Last September they introduced new characters the BFI, developed by creative agency Piri, and this year they’re back again for Hallowe’en with a pair of new spots including this week’s Ad Of The Week, “Poster”.

Who are the BFI? It stands for Butterfinger Investigations, and it’s a pair of gumshoes who solve Butterfinger-related crimes. (Their names are apparently Hugh Dunnit and Ali Byes) The ads show them chasing down Butterfinger thieves and end by urging the public to report any crimes they witness to a special hotline.

As you might expect, this involves some off-air activation. In particular, the brand is keen for parents who sneak their kids’ Butterfinger treats to turn themselves in. Whether this will catch people’s imagination is an open question, but it suits the campaign and, importantly, doesn’t get in the way of the basic storytelling or take up too much airtime.

This is crucial, since “Poster” is short. Very short. One of the trends we’ve seen in 2021’s ads is creatives really getting a handle on super-compressed, 15-or-lower second storytelling which makes a short duration go a long way. A generation raised on Vines, TikToks and Snapchat stories is watching (and increasingly making) ads which take high-speed narrative literacy for granted. There’s an impressive amount of detail in “Poster” which establishes a style and a world at breakneck speed while setting up – and resolving – a surreal Butterfinger theft.

Fluent Device characters like the BFI are perfect for doing shortform storytelling well. While it’s still early days for this comical pair, once characters are established you can save precious time in your ad as you need to spend less time on the setup and can spend more on either story or activation.

We’re already seeing good results for the BFI – a solid 4-Star rating on emotional appeal, but exceptional short-term Spike and Brand Fluency scores, which suggests the link between characters, scenario and brand is already solid. Butterfingers’ detectives could be on their beat for a long time to come.

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