Butterfinger: Game Better with Butterfinger


Campaign Summary

Butterfinger promoted itself to fans of the video game Final Fantasy VII with downloadable content that aided their performance in the game.


Objective and Context:

A classic American candy bar from the 1920s, Butterfinger was faced with the challenge of appealing to a younger generation. The objective was clear: Increase brand awareness with a new, younger audience, and also generate a direct impact on sales.

Butterfinger is significantly outspent by brands like Reese's and Snickers. These brands have conveyed a consistent message via multi-year campaigns to build their leadership in the everyday chocolate space.

Butterfinger needed to find space that its competitors were not present in and speak to its consumers in ways that the competition hasn't in the past.

Target Audience:

More than two-thirds of the U.S. population participates in gaming, and this community is understandably popular with many candy brands who are looking to connect with a younger, snack-minded audience. But such integrations often fall short and feel disingenuous.

This audience also has their go-to candy bars that they pick up on autopilot. Butterfinger needed to find a way to provide real value to gamers, while getting its bar into their hands and becoming their new favorite gaming snack.

Creative Strategy:

Fifty-eight percent of gamers agree that they enjoy learning more about the game they are playing and how to become an expert in it as fast as they can.

Downloadable Content (DLC) can provide gamers a fast-track to mastering a game by providing extra power, weapons, and costumes. But paid versions of such content can irk even the most loyal game fan.

Butterfinger realized that there was opportunity to partner with a game and provide free DLC in exchange for buying Butterfinger, creating a win-win experience in which gamers could stock up on gaming snacks while leveling up their gaming experience.

The brand's strategy was to partner with game maker Square Enix, the maker of Final Fantasy VII, and provide its loyal community a free way to level up in-game and become a known brand in the gaming space.


Overall Campaign Execution:

Butterfinger let gamers know of the five unique pieces of in-game content ahead of the release date, building buzz about the game itself, as well as the unique Butterfinger Bangles, Armlets, Belt and Crystals to be collected and used to help master Final Fantasy VII.

Ninja, one of the biggest names in gaming, announced his support Butterfinger and Final Fantasy VII's partnership two weeks ahead of launch. Buzz was building, and people were eager for the game to drop.

At launch day, a homepage takeover of Twitch, the biggest site in streaming gaming, offered Butterfinger ownership of the day and drove gamers directly to livestreams of Final Fantasy VII being played by two of Butterfinger's key influencers — Maximilian_DOOD and CohhCarnage.

Butterfinger's influencers were all snacking on its candy bar throughout their streams and telling fans how to get their hands on the unique in-game gear by doing the same.

Mobile Execution:

Tech was at the core of Butterfinger's digital-first campaign, with its Downloadable Content front and center. Gamers activated and played with Butterfinger's content in-game, creating a seamlessly integrated experience with Butterfinger within the game itself.

Results (including context, evaluation, and market impact)

The campaign generated a 900 percent lift in unaided awareness on Twitch, driving major impact with the most important audience of the campaign.

Important brand attributes related to Butterfinger's positioning in the gaming community also saw lifts. These included:

  • A 170 percent lift in Butterfinger being the chocolate brand you associate most with gaming
  • A 117 percent relative lift in Butterfinger being known as a brand that offers in-game redemptions

Moreover, the campaign saw 130,000 redemptions used and 325,000 codes received, amounting to more than 30 times the typical promo benchmark and 2.5 times more than what Butterfinger expected.

In addition, 38 percent of consumers who took part in the promotion purchased at least 10 candy bars, meaning that Butterfinger got its candy bars into their hands again and again.

Finally, all of this translated into a direct impact on Butterfinger's core business: sales grew by 15 percent after being down for the four months prior.

Categories: | Industries: | Objectives: Mobile Gaming, Gamification, and Esports | Awards: NA Finalist