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All Hunger Is Not Created Equal

Finding differentiated territory in a mountain of Mars chocolate

The team at Sklar Wilton are trusted partners who have elevated the traditional agency relationship. Over the last 25 years they have demonstrated that through a deep understanding of our brands they can help us define the problem, and facilitate the discovery of powerful insights, which have enabled our business to unlock uncommon growth.

- TJ Kanaris, VP Marketing, Mars Canada

a stack of three Mars chocolate bars
line drawing of word bubble with exclamation point


Mars Canada has a portfolio of chocolate brands including M&Ms, Twix, Mars, Snickers, Maltesers and Bounty. Both Mars and Snickers play in the filled bars segment. Despite best efforts to be different, communication was sharing similar messages to similar consumers. How could we differentiate Mars and Snickers to secure total Mars portfolio share growth?

a line drawing of an arrow path flowing through three boxes and then out


Sklar Wilton completed an occasion-based segmentation study to understand usage occasions and need states for the confectionery category. Using innovative qualitative techniques such as ‘Body Scan’, the team was able to understand a detailed breakdown of each brand experience. Sklar Wilton facilitated cross-functional work sessions to align key stakeholders along the way, a critical step for change management.

a line drawing of a lightbulb


We learned that while the consumer may be the same, the occasions are different (the ‘how’ and ‘why’ each brand is consumed). While Snickers was about satisfying immediate hunger (packed with peanuts), Mars could occupy a new space in rewarding and restoring (delicious fusion of chocolate, caramel and nougat).

a line drawing of a target with arrows pointing to a checkmark in the centre


The process crystalized the differences and defined clear, unique positioning spaces for each brand. This justified the existence and investment of both brands in the Canadian market (while other countries deprioritized Mars). Winning creative was developed that surpassed Ipsos communication hurdles and the Global Mars organization subsequently adopted the Canadian creative in 2014.

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