Here’s a unique way for your smartphone to undermine your health. A new app scans social media to determine when life might bumming you and your friends out and sends you a coupon for cheap sugary snacks.
The quick sugar fix comes courtesy of Snickers’s new marketing campaign in Australia. The “Hungerithm” app scans 14,000 public social media posts each day for 3,000 keywords indicating frustration, rage, and disappointment. As the internet’s collective mood worsens, the price of a Snickers bar falls from a high of $1.15 Australian dollars ($0.83) to a low of $0.50 ($0.36). Users can then download a coupon onto their smartphones to redeem for a reduced-price Snickers at a nearby 7-11. The campaign is expected to roll out globally next year.
Is the Hungerithm an effective long-term mood-boosting aide? No! A standard 2-ounce Snickers bar contains 29 grams of sugar, or almost seven teaspoons, approaching (surpassing, for women) the amount of added sugar the American Heart Association says adults should limit themselves to each day.
Eating chocolate can deliver a fleeting boost in mood. But diets chronically high in sugar have been linked to depression. Australian scientists have found that chronic sugar consumption causes changes in the brain that mirror those brought about by childhood traumas. Treating a bad day with sugar may just worsen your mood in the long run, which would make your social media posts crabbier, which would trigger the Hungerithm to sell you more sugar. That’s enough to make anyone mad.
Quartz has contacted Snickers for comment and will update this post with any response.