M&Ms, Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand
First introduced to American soldiers during World War II in 1941, M&Ms are produced by the candy mogul Mars, Incorporated. The candy coated chocolate morsels come in numerous flavors and sizes including Milk Chocolate, Peanut (1954), White Chocolate, White Chocolate With Peanuts, Dark Chocolate (2005), Mint, Peanut Butter (1990), Almond (1988), Crispy (discontinued), Toffee, Dulce De Leche, and Cherry Cordial. M&M candies come in three sizes – Regular, Mini (1996), and Mega (2005).
The current M&M packages include red, orange, blue, yellow, green, and brown MandMs. However, M&Ms are produced in a large selection of colors, available at M&M WORLD stores and online at MMs.com The “M” printed on each candy is printed with vegetable dye.
M&M introduced their Spokescandies in 1954, and even today they remain an integral part of the M&M advertising campaigns. The Spokescandies include Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Crispy (Orange), and M&M Minis.
In 1996 the M&M character campaign was voted the number one ad campaign of the year by USA TODAY. That same year, the popularity of the Spokescandies surpassed both Bart Simpson and Mickey Mouse.
In 1954, M&M trademarked their still popular tagline “The Milk Chocolate That Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hand.” The M&M Company constantly involves consumers with the brand through promotions.
In 1993, M&Ms held a promotion asking consumers to choose the next new M&M color. The color choices were blue, purple and pink. Blue was the winner, and the color to replace tan in 1995.
M&M WORLD stores sell numerous product extensions for the brand, including clothes, cups, stuffed animals, and every color of M&M imaginable. The first M&M WORLD was built in Las Vegas in 1997. Today, there are additional stores in New York and Orlando.
In 1998, M&M tagged their M&M characters as “The official Spokescandies of the New Millennium,” a clever angle since the roman numerals MM stand for 2000. The M&M Spokescandies also starred in their own feature film in 1998, which premiered at the M&M WORLD in Las Vegas.
The Spokescandies have appeared in numerous television commercials since their creation. In 2000, the Blue M&M character outsmarts actor Steve Baldwin who was trying to eat him. An ad ran during the 2002 Super Bowl played on the complimentary chocolate on hotel pillows by showing the Red M&M character laying on a hotel pillow waiting for the guest to arrive.
The M&M “Most Colorful M&Ms Brand Moment” campaign held in 2003 encouraged consumers to entertain their favorite M&M memories online and then vote for their favorite M&M commercial. The winning commercial, titled “Switch” featured actor Patrick Warburton along with the Red, Yellow and Orange Spokescandies. The commercial, which aired during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, shows Warburton catching the Spokescandies in the act of eating bags of “their own kind.” Warburton tells them how wrong that is, so the characters switch bags – therefore switching from eating their exact match – and continue eating.
M&Ms now uses the Spokescandies, edited to resemble celebrities to promote their “There’s An M&M in Everyone” campaign. The campaign premiered during American Idol in 2007, and has an online component at becomeanmm.com, with 27 million possible combinations.
In 2001, M&Ms created a campaign targeting women ages 25-49. The campaign aimed to strengthen the sale of M&M candy gift boxes called Celebrations – a product competing with boxed chocolates and flowers. The campaign included coupons and email blasts, as well as print ads which ran in magazines including People, Better Homes and Gardens and Good House Keeping.
M&M also promotes itself by running videos and ads at their M&M WORLD locations, and during pre-movie entertainment at movie theaters.
M&Ms have sponsorships with Special Olympics and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (for which the M&M Company donates proceeds of bags of special Pink M&Ms to).
In 2003, M&Ms held their Groovy Summer campaign, which rolled out with new, eye catching packaging designed by famous artist Michael Rios who is best known for his artwork on Santana album covers. The packages held “Groovy” colored M&Ms inside.
In 2004, there was 2.5 months of black and white M&Ms, in order to release a new tagline in March: “Chocolate Is Better in Color.”
M&Ms also sponsors NASCAR drivers and does numerous movie tie-ins. Most recent movie tie-ins included Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones. With the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005, M&Ms released Dark Chocolate candies for the first time. With the release of Pirates brought White Chocolate candies, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull brought Wild Cherry and Mint Crisp.