Ad Space – A Tale of Two Twix

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Twix candy bars

The Promotions:

The Pitch:
Sure, buying Twix endorses a feud that poisons the lives of owners and employees across generations. But, c’mon! Chocolate, caramel, and cookie? Who could say no!

I think these ads are frickin’ brilliant.

It’s a common tactic in commercials to tell people how your product is better than the competitors. But mentioning the competition by name can by risky. Even if you only bring them up in order to disparage them, you’re still upping their name recognition, and might even push some contrarian folks into buying them instead.

Some ads work around this by inventing a fictitious competitor to compare themselves to (like Energerizer batteries and their arch-rival Supervolt). Others will avoid giving a specific name to their competition, and instead refer to them simply as “Big Name Detergent” or “Big Name Cellphone Carriers” or “Big Name Pizza” (which has the added bonus of casting their own product as the plucky underdog everyone wants to root for).

But what Twix does here is truly inspired, because they’re competing against themselves. Viewers know that there’s no difference between the right bar and the left bar in a package of Twix, so by having Right Twix and Left Twix engage in oneupmanship with each other, they can play act a brand rivalry, ala Coke vs. Pepsi, but where their brand always comes out on top, ’cause it’s the only one in the game.

I also just love the setup for these ads, where two old-timey brothers have a feud, which leads to two factories, directly across from each other, producing the two halves to a candy bar, maintaining unending suspicion of what the other might be up to. It’s like something out of a quirky indie dramedy, and just makes for a fun little ad.