Inside BBDO’s Rapid-Fire Quest to Find the Perfect Twix Spot

Global competition pits 6 shops against one another

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

On a recent Monday morning, a handful of BBDO New York creatives huddled together at Google's YouTube Space in Chelsea to shoot a video for Twix's "Left Twix/Right Twix" rivalry campaign. As they chatted in the hall about how the spot would be filmed, two actors wearing Michael Bolton-style blonde wigs and button-down shirts walked by.

Later, the two actors stood in front of a green screen, preparing to sing a two-minute love ballad about the candy bar. Each actor will sing about one side of a Twix bar while holding it.

Meanwhile, a director asked, "Do we have an ETA on the candy bars?" The snacks were kept cold until the final minutes before the shoot to keep the candy from melting in the actors' hands.


Behind the scenes with BBDO's YouTube video for Twix.

A video posted by @adweekreports on

The shoot was part of a bigger two-week project that challenged creatives from six BBDO teams—in the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Brazil and Colombia—to make a total of 10 YouTube spots. (The New York team knocked out five ideas). Similar to Twix's ongoing rivalry campaign that pits the two bars in each pack against each other, the agency's competition was meant to stir up some friendly rivalry between teams while also testing out what types of creative works best on YouTube.

"When this opportunity came up, we were excited to say, 'Now that we have the brand story that we're trying to tell with Twix, let the creative loose on bringing that to life,'" said Jane Wakely, CMO of Mars Chocolate.

"One of the key aspects on this project was we had a very tight brief in terms of the brand story that we were trying to tell and a very free brief in terms of the execution. When I looked at the breadth of the creative, I was thrilled by the variety and the sheer ingenuity that went behind the executions."

Over two weeks, the BBDO teams came conceptualized, created and launched commercials designed specifically to work on YouTube.

In exchange, YouTube forked over space in four of its studios in London, New York, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo to let the teams film and edit the spots. Creators including Mitch Kloons from the YouTube comedy group The Kloons were also on set to consult the agency teams.

To determine a winner, the videos were then turned into YouTube's skippable TrueView ads that play before content and compared to a PSA control ad.

The ads ran for one day in the U.S, U.K. and Netherlands, collecting a total of 3 million impressions.

Each video was judged on two criteria: Ad recall and view-through rate. Ad recall was measured through surveys asking online viewers if they had recently seen an ad for a candy bar. And view-through rate measures if someone watches for at least 30 seconds (or all of an ad if it is less than 30 seconds).

Letting consumers judge the effectiveness of ads is a new way for BBDO to assess its creative, said David Lubars, CCO of BBDO Worldwide.

"The new focus group is the world," he said. "Make something that's cheap and fast enough that it's actually more economical to put it out there, and let the world tell you if it's good."

Each team's video was given a score, with BBDO U.K.'s "YouTube vs. YouTube" performing the best. The screen is split to represent both sides of the candy bar, and they fight for viewers' attention by using Youtube's features like language translation and the fast-forward button. Mars' Wakely said spots that quickly got to the brand message—left versus right Twix—performed best.

"It grabbed your attention, right from second one," she said. "It's entertaining and funny. I look at any concept, and if it doesn't entertain, it won't drive creative effectiveness."

Sadie Thoma, Google's head of creative agency partnerships, added that the competition is the newest example of how agencies are evolving to create quick, quality content geared specifically for digital.

"There is a constant conversation taking place across the industry around 'how can content be created in a way that's good, fast and cheap?'" Thoma said. "We used to say to clients, 'Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick two.' Now, you really need to pick all three."

Take a look at the other nine YouTube videos below.

BBDO New York


BBDO New York

Sancho BBDO Colombia

BBDO New York

Almap BBDO Brazil

BBDO New York

BBDO Germany

BBDO New York

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.