Oh Henry! solves that Hank-ering for chocolate

Oh Henry! is pulling a few strings to reach its millennial target, introducing a puppet mascot called Hank who is laser-focused on solving hunger and, well, nothing else.

Developed by Anomaly with production partner Little Giant, Hank is described as “an enthusiastic puppet who can’t stomach the thought of being hungry.”

The name “Hank,” of course, is the less formalized version of Henry, with baby naming site Nameberry saying it’s coming back into vogue again, (it’s currently the 482nd most popular name in the U.S.) gaining newfound appreciation because of its “earthy, sports guy cool.”

Running across TV and social, the creative features Hank providing assistance to a stranded mountaineer whose ropes are tangled, and a window-washer whose lift has malfunctioned. The catch is that his assistance comes only in the form of an Oh Henry! bar, since Hank believes hunger is the only challenge they’re facing.

“We needed to find a way to stay laser focused on the only problem that Oh Henry! can really solve: hunger,” said Pete Breton, executive creative director at Anomaly. “So when Hank arrived it was a no-brainer. Hank is our laser dealing with hunger… and that’s it.”

Anomaly said the objective with Hank is to help move the brand beyond the easily ignored “wallpaper” that characterizes so much contemporary marketing. The puppet character is designed to be an “enduring icon” that can serve as a brand-builder and a distinctive asset.

One of the 10 oldest candy bars in the world, Oh Henry! celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. It has long made its ability to solve hunger one of its key brand attributes, and has found success in recent years by developing products like the Oh Henry! Level Up bar and Oh Henry! 4:25 catering specifically to gamers and cannabis users.

In addition to TV and social, the supporting media buy from UM Canada includes a four-week takeover (starting Aug. 17) of Ontario Circle K convenience stores with retail displays, racks and floor stickers. Hank meanwhile, is expected to play a “big role” in the brand’s future marketing, said Anomaly.

Chris Powell