Starburst taps gen AI for campaign that is ‘Different Every Time’

2024/05/09 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Mars candy brand Starburst debuted "Different Every Time," its first major campaign in 12 years, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.

  • Campaign spots utilize generative artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver content in a variety of scenes and styles. The effort includes more than 300 bespoke assets and will span TV, online, social and other channels, including an augmented reality (AR) lens on Snapchat and a Spotify activation.

  • Created by Team OMC, a collaboration between Omnicom agencies DDB and Critical Mass, "Different Every Time" looks to engage Gen Z consumers around novelty and discovery and demonstrates one way that marketers can use generative AI to create assets at scale.

Dive Insight:

Starburst is leaning into the more than 479 million ways (12 factorial, for any math nerds in the audience) that consumers can enjoy one 12-pack of its candies for its first major campaign in over a decade. "Different Every Time" takes this insight literally, looking to deliver a seemingly endless array of content by utilizing generative AI. 

“Inspired by the endless possibilities for adventure in every pack, this campaign celebrates the joy of choice and individuality in a world inundated with sameness. With the help of generative AI, we're bringing fans dynamic and ever-changing content, ensuring each experience is truly unique,” said Ro Cheng, vice president of marketing at Mars, in a statement.

In the spots, two characters start a different scenario — doing homework, working, streaming or studying — in a different setting, before one character eats a Starburst candy and the spot cycles through a few vibrant, AI-created scenes in various styles that draw inspiration from fantasy, anime, futuristic landscapes, geometric shapes and more. Four versions will run across TV and full-episode players based on media caps, with different versions running across programmatic, Meta and Snapchat as the brand evaluates its entire paid media plan, per details shared with Marketing Dive.

The campaign is positioned as a balm for the "sameness fed to us by the algorithms and status quo trends of today," and looks to create the novelty and "constant discovery" that Gen Z looks for in content, explained Colin Selikow, chief creative officer at DDB Chicago, in a statement.

Along with hundreds of bespoke assets created for a variety of channels, Starburst will extend "Different Every Time" with a Snapchat AR lens inspired by the the candy's flavor combinations and a Spotify activation that launches on May 13 that is billed as a "'chews' your own music adventure." The Snapchat and Spotify elements put the campaign in front of younger consumers on the platforms that they favor.

Over the last few years, Starburst has engaged younger consumers by activating around memes and viral content, specifically on TikTok. Previous efforts have revolved around viral self-love mantras and Gen Z interest in space. Most notably, Starburst found success in 2021 by tapping into interest around a Little Lad character that appeared in a 2007 ad for its Berries & Creme candies that had gone viral on TikTok.

Other Mars candy brands have been active marketers recently, with Skittles raffling off a rent-free New York City micro-apartment to promote its Littles product and Snickers extending its long-running “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” brand platform around the stresses of flying.

(Copyright: MarketingDive Starburst taps gen AI for campaign that is ‘Different Every Time’ | Marketing Dive)