She's sexual, uninhibited — and only 85 calories. The "Fling" is the first new chocolate bar Mars has introduced in more than 20 years.
Wrapped in a shiny pink and sliver package, this delicate "chocolate finger" is intended for women. The word "finger" is an industry term for a long, slim confection, Mars spokesman Ryan Bowling says, but with ads that invite you to "Pleasure yourself" in pink lettering, consumers might come to other conclusions.
The tag line on the package is "Naughty, but not that naughty." A TV spot starts with what looks like strangers having sex in a store dressing room. Currently the candy bar can be bought only California and online, but if all goes well, Mars is hoping women will be having Flings all across the country. But is this hyper-feminine, hyper-sexualized marketing coming on too strong?
"The overall campaign feels weird," Lisa Johnson says. "It feels creepy." Johnson is the co-author of Don't Think Pink: What Really Makes Women Buy — and How to Increase Your Share of This Crucial Market. She describes the marketing as a "full-frontal attack."
"The language of it has so much sexual innuendo, you could pack it into a trashy novel." Johnson says marketers are taking the connection women often make between chocolate and sensuality too literally. "There are other things you can do that can hit this note without banging on it."
Bowling says the campaign has been received well so far. Whether the Fling will keep calling itself a "finger," however, remains to be seen.