Treat ’em mean, keep ’em keen: Henry’s ‘special blend of meanness’ called on for local Snickers push

Hunger-based angriness, or, as the experts call it, ‘hungangriness’, is a horrible affliction. Some might say the same about Paul Henry. So it’s quite fitting that he has be called upon to run the New Zealand leg of the global ‘You’re Not You When you’re Hungry’ campaign.  

The campaign uses celebrities known for a particular hunger trait as a metaphor. And Henry will portray the state ‘meanness’, joining the likes of Betty White, Joe Pesci, Aretha Franklin, Liza Minnelli and Joan Collins, who have featured in commercials in more than 56 markets.


The commercial was shot over the weekend by Mars’ agency Colenso BBDO and Film Construction’s Steve Saussey and will only run in New Zealand. 

“I am excited to be involved in something which essentially just allows me to be myself,” Henry says. “I’m glad to be able to show that meanness can be fun and celebratory, and despite the old adage that it’s difficult to do, meanness really does come easy. It has never bothered me that people think I’m mean, I’ve always been able to laugh at it. In many ways this campaign is a very good representation of how I see myself. I think it’s great to see a company recognising human characteristics and putting them under the spotlight for us to have a bit of fun with … It’s lovely to be involved in a bit of theatre where people aren’t taking themselves too seriously. I have enjoyed featuring in a campaign that started starring Betty White. It’s something of an honour.”

Snickers’ marketing manager Andrea Aguilar says the campaign was developed behind the universal insight that hunger makes a person weak and behave differently, ultimately affecting the people around us and the way we perform. 

The campaign adopts a typically light-hearted tone to appeal to the core brand consumers and she says Henry was a natural choice to bring the campaign to life.

“What the commercial is trying to convey is that hunger can drastically change your personality. It’s saying that when you’re hungry you’re not on your game and that Snickers is the bar of substance that sorts you out,” she says.

Henry’s Breakfast show on Ten in Australia is struggling for ratings against its well-established competitors, but he told Mumbrella he believed the numbers will improve as its inexperienced production team finds its feet. However, its executive producer Majella Wiemers left recently (she was replaxced by her Kiwi deputy Sarah Bristow, who worked with Henry at TVNZ) and the show has also been cut by half an hour. 


Client:  MARS (Marketing Director Peter Simmons; Marketing Manager Andrea Aguilar)

Agency: Colenso – Creative director Levi Slavin

PR: Impact PR – Director of Public Relations Fleur Revell-Devlin

Project Crew – Director Steve Saussey

Production Company – Film Construction

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