That Time Nestle Gave The Finger to Butterfinger!

CC_Butterfinger_TheFinger_TITLE PLATEThough the title of today’s post might sound like some negative thing, it’s not.   Because today’s post is all about when Nestle promoted the Butterfinger brand with a slightly edgy, humorous take on itself.  It’s also how they renamed Butterfinger to “The Finger”… at least for a day.

In a time just before and Facebook would become the default place to launch a campaign like this, Nestle presented this unusual Butterfinger campaign on Yahoo!’s own Comedy Network.  Here’s how it started:

As modern day consumers, most of us have seen companies make focus group-inspired changes to their brands and logos before, so perhaps it was not entirely unbelievable that a brand like Butterfinger could somehow be altered in such a dramatic (and some would say ridiculous) way.  But I suspect that most folks were savvy to the humor here.  And I think this campaign had a good sense of humor about itself and even a bit of an edge.

In the end, on April 1st, 2008 (naturally) 200,000 “The Finger” bars were given away at 7-Eleven stores around the country.   According to Business Wire,

To celebrate clever humor and the launch of the Butterfinger Comedy Network, BUTTERFINGER is distributing nearly 200,000 free Finger Bars to consumers at more than 2,000 7-Eleven® stores in 10 major markets across the country. This will occur on the afternoon of April 1 only and while supplies last (one Finger Bar per customer). Participating markets include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Dallas, Boston and Miami.

I recently acquired a bar from that promotion and removed the wrapper for my collection.  It’s practically like a Wacky Packages sticker brought to life.  Here it is:

Nestle - 7-Eleven - The Finger - Butterfinger - promotional candy bar wrapper - April 1 2008

Nestle – 7-Eleven – The Finger – Butterfinger – promotional candy bar wrapper – April 1st 2008

From what I can tell, “The Finger” graphic was an ongoing element of the promotion, and may have been used as a lead up to the actual renaming stunt.  Here are a trio of “The Finger” graphics I was able to mine from the 2008 internet:

Butterfinger "The Finger" images - 2008

Butterfinger “The Finger” images – 2008

So this was all a big fun promotion that culminated in the giveaway of a novelty bar.  It must have been at least somewhat successful because just over a year later they would follow-up with Seth Green and his “Dude Where’s My Butterfinger Bar” promotion, which I wrote about last August.  That promotion also culminated with a chance to get a free giveaway Butterfinger bar, that time in a retro wrapper.

As far as I know, Nestle hasn’t had any other similar promotions, though it’s hard to be certain.  If anyone else remembers one, write in and let us know.  The wrappers for these make for pretty fun collectibles – especially since they’re only available for one day and sport unique designs.   Gotta love it.

There was one other follow-up video I found related to this promotion.   In this one, they do on-the-street interviews with folks asking them what they think of the name change:

And that’s everything I’ve got for today.  See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s My Google Profile+
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4 Responses to That Time Nestle Gave The Finger to Butterfinger!

  1. Dig Sandy says:

    Strange promotion…can’t imagine what they were thinking. A brown finger is not something I want to associate any candy bar with..hope it didn’t backfire, lol.

    • jasonliebig says:

      The “finger” was orange, like a Butterfinger wrapper. What are you looking at?

      • Dig Sandy says:

        OK, I see. But still, when someone is “fingered” it conjures up some unpleasant thoughts, lol. I need to get my mind out of the gutter, huh?

        • jasonliebig says:

          Well, the promotion WAS to get attention by giving the bar a questionable-and-provocative new name. So, it worked, I guess. Hah!

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