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Sports Illustrated Swimsuit CoverSSSSSSS (as seen by 9-year-old boys)


Yes, by now we’ve all seen coverage of Hannah Davis’ ultra-risqué, barely-there-down-there bikini bottom on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. The FRONT cover, that is. I clarify because on a recent trip to the store with a couple of 9-year-old boys including my own son, I was confronted with more than press coverage of this lack of coverage: the real magazine was right in front of us at checkout, and it drew the boys’ attention. Including the back cover. Here’s how it went:

“Why is she ‘pantsing’ herself?”


“Wait, look at the back cover – that’s AWESOME.”

What? I’d never heard anyone talk about the BACK cover of the SI Swimsuit Edition, and frankly I was a little worried about what I might see there. What awaited was simply delightful: Snickers took their “you’re not you when you’re hungry” concept (most recently seen during the Super Bowl Brady Bunch execution) and applied it to the content of this controversial magazine. For once, the back cover was just as interesting (and to 9-year-old boys, even more so) as the front:


Featuring the most famous of mythology’s gorgons, snake-headed Medusa, the ad is a mock-cover featuring editorial call-outs like “Surprise Snakeovers,” “Hunger Made Me,” and “Needsssssss Snickers!” Potentially implying that this is what Ms. Davis and other models might be like when they’re hungry (which normal people imagine is probably all the time), Snickers made a genius move with this back cover takeover. It warmed my heart as both someone in the advertising industry and as a mother. While they had no idea who the barely clad Davis was or why she’d be pulling down her own pants, they immediately recalled Medusa’s name and thought that was the coolest magazine cover on the rack.

Thank you, Snickers. You broke some new advertising ground in one of the most traditional formats – print magazine back cover – and you gave us all a good snicker. Does that include the editors at Sports Illustrated? I wonder if they had any (ahem) issues with the Snickers ad…and were they contractually obligated to run with it or did they welcome the Medusa cover girl, recognizing the sheer PR genius the candy bar brand’s ad would add to the mix? 

~ Denise Blasevick, @AdvertGirl & CEO, The S3 Agency


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