|Related brands||Minstrels, Smarties, Revels, Skittles, Treets|
|Markets||Worldwide (over 100 countries)|
M&M's are "colorful button-shaped candies" produced by Mars, Incorporated. The candy shells, each of which has the letter "m" printed in lower case on one side, surround a variety of fillings, including milk chocolate, dark chocolate, crisped rice, mint chocolate, peanuts, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry[disambiguation needed], cinnamon, raspberry, and peanut butter. M&M's originated in the United States in 1941, and are now sold in as many as 100 countries. They are produced in different colors, some of which have changed over the years.
- 1 History
- 2 Marketing of M&Ms
- 3 M&M's characters
- 4 Color changes in chocolate M&M's
- 5 Health concerns
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- 8 See also
Forrest Mars, Sr., son of the founder of the Mars Company Frank C. Mars, invented the idea for the candy in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War when he saw soldiers eating chocolate pellets with a hard shell of tempered chocolate surrounding the inside, preventing the candies from melting. Mars received a patent for his own process on March 3, 1941. Production began in 1941 in a factory located at 285 Badger Avenue in Clinton Hill, Newark, New Jersey. When the company was originally founded it was M&M Limited. The two "M's" represent the names of Forrest E. Mars Sr., the founder of Newark Company and Bruce Murrie (son of Hershey's Chocolate president William F. R. Murrie) who had a 20 percent share in the product. The arrangement allowed the candies to be made with Hershey chocolate which had control of the rationed chocolate at the time.
The practicality of the candies during World War II caused an increase in production and its factory moved to bigger quarters at 200 North 12th Street in Newark, New Jersey where they remained until 1958 when it moved to a bigger factory at Hackettstown, New Jersey. During the war, the candies were exclusively sold to the military.
In 1950, a black "M" was imprinted on the candies giving them a unique trademark. It was changed to white in 1954.
In the early 1950s, the Midwest Research Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, working for M&M's, perfected a process whereby 3,300 pounds (1,500 kg) of chocolate centers could be coated every hour. Peanut M&M's were introduced in 1954, but first appeared only in the color tan. When peanut M&M's made their debut, so did the tagline 'Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.' In 1960, M&M's added the yellow, red, and green colors.
In 1980, M&M's were introduced internationally to Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom.
Although they were marketed and then withdrawn in the 1960s, almond-centered M&M's hit stores again in 1988 in limited release, with appearances only during Christmas and Easter times; they became a standard part of the product line in 1992.
Also in 1986, M&M's launched HOLIDAYS Chocolate Candies for Easter and Christmas, with the Easter candies having bunny, chick, and egg symbols on pastel-colored shells, and the Christmas candies having pine tree and candle symbols on red and green shells; with the latter also having a special Mint flavor. By 1993, the holiday symbols were replaced with the standard trademark "M".
In 1991, Peanut Butter M&M's were released. These candies have peanut butter inside the chocolate center and the same color scheme as the other brands. As of at least 2013, the size of the peanut butter M&M has become slightly smaller.
In 1996, Mars introduced "M&M's Minis", smaller candies usually sold in plastic tubes instead of bags.
In 1999, Crispy M&M's were released. They were slightly larger than the milk chocolate variety and also featured a crispy wafer center. They were discontinued in the United States in 2005. They are still available in Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
In July 2001, Dulce de Leche M&M's were introduced in five markets with large Hispanic populations: Los Angeles, California, San Diego, California, Miami, Florida, Mcallen-Brownsville, Texas, and San Antonio, Texas. The flavor never became popular with the Hispanic community, who preferred existing M&M's flavors and it was discontinued in most areas by early 2003.
In 2010, Pretzel M&M's were released. They contain a crunchy, salty pretzel center inside of the chocolate coating and are about the same size as the Peanut M&M's, but their shape tends to be more spherical.
Marketing of M&Ms
Imaginative marketing has helped build the M&Ms brand and create something of a "cult following" for the candy. Computer-animated graphics, personification of the candies with cartoon-like story-telling, and clever merchandising techniques have done much to increase brand recognition and cement brand loyalty.
Marketing campaigns to "build the brand"
In 1990, M&M's exhibited at New York's Erie County Fair a life-size fiberglass cow covered with 66,000 M&M candies, each adhered by hand with the "m" logo on each candy facing outward. According to a website run by the designer of the chocolate cow—Michael Adams—, the stunt earned M&M Mars $1 million in free publicity because it was reported on by Newsweek magazine ("udderly amazing") as well as the New York Post, UPI and WABC-TV, and Live with Regis.[better source needed]
In 1995, the company ran M&M's Color Campaign, ostensibly a contest in which "Participants had a choice of selecting purple, blue, or pink as the color of a new variety of M&M's. The announcement of the winner—the color blue—was carried on most of the television network's news programs" as well as the talk shows of David Letterman and Jay Leno. Furthermore, "The company had the Empire State Building lighted in blue a night, resulting in wide coverage by print media." Although the financial details of these deals were not disclosed and neither was the campaigns' effect on sales, one marketing book estimated that the company "collected millions of dollars worth of free publicity" and that the campaign "certainly resulted in increasing the brand's awareness".
In 1998, M&M's were styled as "The Official Candy of the New Millennium," since MM is the Roman numeral for 2000.
In 2000, "Plain" M&M's (a name introduced in 1954 when Peanut M&M's were introduced) were renamed "Milk Chocolate" M&M's, and pictures of the candy pieces were added to the traditional brown and white packaging. The new millennium brought about new M&M's video games as well. "M&M's: The Lost Formulas" was released on September 28, 2000, and "M&M's: Mini Madness" was also released on December 14, 2000.
Joint marketing campaigns
In 1990, Mars Snackfood US signed up to be a sponsor for NASCAR. Drivers for the M&M car through the years have included Ernie Irvan, Ken Schrader, Eliott Sadler, Ricky Rudd, David Gilliland, Kyle Busch, and Michael McDowell.
In April 2005, M&M's ran the "mPire" promotion to tie in with the Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith movie release. M&M's were offered in dark chocolate varieties (Regular and Peanut) for the first time after a string of Addams Family M&M's commercials.
In May 2004, M&M's ran a Shrek 2 promotion to tie in with the movie's release. M&M's were offered "ogre-sized" (65% larger) in swamp/ogre colors. They were sold at many stores displayed in huge cardboard cutout ogre displays.
In the summer of 2005, Mars added "Mega M&M's" to the lineup. These candies, at 55% larger than the traditional M&M's, were a little smaller than the ogre-sized version. They were available in milk chocolate and peanut varieties. The colors for Mega M&M's were changed to less-bright colors: teal (replacing green), beige (replacing orange), maroon (replacing red), gold (replacing yellow), blue-gray (replacing blue), and brown to appeal to a more adult consumer.
In July 2006, Dark Chocolate M&M's reappeared in a purple package, followed in 2007 by Dark Chocolate Peanut M&M's. Also in 2006, the company piloted White Chocolate M&M's as a tie-in with their Pirates of the Caribbean promotion. The company also offered eight new flavors of M&M's via online sales, as well as at M&M's World locations: "All That Razz"; "Eat, Drink, & Be Cherry"; "A Day at the Peach"; "Orange-U-Glad"; "Mint Condition"; "AlmonDeeLicious"; "Nut What You Think" and "Cookie Monster". Mars also released a "Crispy Mint" variety in Australia that year.
Also in 2006, M&M's became the official chocolate of NASCAR.
In 2007, M&M's introduced a limited-edition raspberry flavor called "M&M's Razzberry Chocolate Candies."
Also in 2007, M&M's produced a 50-foot, smiling Lady Liberty M&M statue to kick off a campaign encouraging Americans to create their own M&M characters at mms.com. The website allows for people to log in and create their own character from scratch. They choose everything from the color and shape to hair and accessories.
In 2008, two new limited-edition varieties of the candy were introduced – "Wildly Cherry" M&M's, and, as a marketing tie-in with the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, "Mint Crisp" M&M's.
M&M's also introduced another new product called "M&M's Premiums" in 2008. They come in five flavors – chocolate almond, mint chocolate, mocha, raspberry almond and triple chocolate (milk, dark, and white chocolate), which are sold in small upright cartons with a plastic bag inside. M&M's Premiums do not have a candy shell, but are coated with carnauba wax and color. Dark Chocolate was added in 2009, replacing Mocha.
During summer of 2008, My M&M's launched 'Faces,' which allows consumers to print the faces of loved ones on M&M's chocolate candies at mymms.com.
In February 2009, M&M's launched the "M&M’s Colour Break-Up" promotion in Australia where M&M's were sold in separate packs (one for each color): the packs included a code to win prizes.
In Summer 2009, M&M's launched a limited-edition "Strawberried Peanut Butter" variant to tie in with the release of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. In addition, M&M's launched a limited edition "Coconut M&M's," which became a permanent item in 2010.
In early 2010, M&M's Bare All were released as part of a competition in Australia and New Zealand. M&M's Bare All winning packs were ordinary M&M's, but without shells (and hence had no colours). An official website, http://m-msbareall.com.au/, was launched, along with television advertisements. In April 2010, M&M's launched a new pretzel variety.
In November 2011, Mars released M & M's Cinnamon Milk Chocolate for Christmas.
About the time pretzel M&M's came out, the M&M's wrapper designs in the U.S. were redone, from the old design, used from 2004-early 2010.
2012 M&M's release two new Dark Chocolate flavors, Raspberry and Mint. Also in 2012, M&M's released a White Chocolate flavor for the Easter season. From May 30, 2012 onwards, M&M's will be launched in Macau. Its Macanese launch language is Portuguese. From May 2012, for an unspecified time, Peanut M&M's were produced in the UK in a limited edition "Red, White and Blues only" pack, in connection with the country's Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Olympics. The trademark 'M' remains white on the white candies. The commercial promoting this promotional package has Yellow donning various outfits of British stereotypes to try and get into the limited edition pack.
M&M's World specialty shops have been established in some locations, including Las Vegas, New York, and London.
Cadbury Gems are a version of M&M's produced in India by Cadbury India. They contain chocolate centers and come in a variety of colours, and have nothing printed on them.
Concurrent with the Blue M&M campaign, M&M's introduced computer animated "spokescandies" in their television commercials. These include the team of the cynical and sardonic Red (originally voiced by Jon Lovitz, thereafter Billy West) who is the mascot for milk chocolate M&M's, and the happy and gullible Yellow (originally John Goodman, thereafter J.K. Simmons), who is the mascot for peanut M&M's (he was originally known as "Peanut" when first introduced). Other mascots include the "cool one", Blue (Phil Hartman, thereafter Robb Pruitt) who is the mascot for almond M&M's; the seductive Green (Cree Summer), who is the mascot for dark chocolate M&M's; and the slightly neurotic Orange (Eric Kirchberger) representing crispy M&M's (Pretzel M&M's in the US when Pretzel M&M's were released). There is also a non-M&M spokescandy for the pretzel M&M's named Pretzel Guy. He is a bespectacled and slightly nerdy pretzel who is with Orange in most of the Pretzels M&M's commercials, "supporting" him and offering helpful advice. Other mascots that were introduced, but no longer used, are Almond, the original green guy, Orange, a female peanut character, and the Swarmees for M&M's Minis candies.
Female M&M's mascots were introduced as equals to the established Red and Yellow in 1995. Green was the milk chocolate mascot and Orange was the peanut. Unfortunately, marketing discontinued Orange when they introduced the then new Blue mascot. Green was the only female M&M's mascot from her introduction in 1995 until 2012, when M&M's unveiled a new additional spokescandy, the businesslike Ms. Brown (Vanessa Williams), the "Chief Chocolate Officer." She made her debut in a Super Bowl XLVI advertisement, where Red mistakes her for lacking a shell coating because of her brown color.
|Color||Character||Type||Current voice artist|
|Red||Red||Milk Chocolate||Billy West|
|Yellow||Yellow||Peanut||J. K. Simmons|
|Green||Miss Green||Peanut Butter / Dark Chocolate Mint||Cree Summer|
|Crisped Rice / Pretzels||Eric Kirchberger|
|Brown||Ms. Brown||Milk chocolate||Vanessa Williams|
Color changes in chocolate M&M's
In early 1995, Mars ran a promotion in which consumers were invited to vote on which of blue, pink, or purple would replace the tan M&M's. Blue was the winner, replacing tan in the fall of 1995. Consumers could vote by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR. (The introduction of blue M&M's to Australia in 1997 was controversially promoted by the Carlton Football Club of the Australian Football League [AFL] who, for one game, swapped their trademark dark blue guernseys for pale blue guernseys—their first change since the early 20th century.) Ads for the new blue colors featured a plain and an almond blue M&M character as Red and Yellow take notice of trying to do takes in the commercial by painting themselves blue where they appear on stage with B.B. King singing the blues, but the filmmakers had to cut the scene as they were not the real blue M&M's; another featured Red and Yellow holding their breath to look like the new blue M&M's, where Steven Weber sees the three M&M's, Red, Yellow, and Blue; and one more featuring Weber talking to the blue M&M if he had dived into the chocolate pool, but did not.
In 2002, Mars solicited votes in their first ever "M&M's Global Color Vote" to add a new color from three choices: aqua (turquoise), pink, and purple. This time, purple won and was featured for a limited time. To help the colors get votes, Ken Schrader and his MB2 Motorsports team, who was sponsored by M&M's at the time, ran four paint schemes during the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season representing the promotion (one for aqua, one for pink, one for purple, and another one with all three colors on the car.) Specially marked packages of M&M's were released in Japan to find all purple M&M's in a bag to win 100 million yen (equivalent to approximately $852,000).
On January 1, 2004, at the stroke of midnight, Mars removed all of the colors of M&M's and made them black-and-white on both their candies and the packaging. It coincided with a commercial parodying The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy is home in bed and looks out of the window and sees what the colors of the four M&M's were. The goal was to help the M&M's find their colors in black-and-white packages of M&M's, in this order: brown, orange, red, green, yellow, and blue. After all of the colors have been found, the colored packaging returned, and began carrying the theme "Chocolate is better in color".
Since 2004 M&M's have been available online in 17 colors, with personalized phrases on each candy on the opposite side from the "m". Released around Christmas, these custom-printed M&M's were originally intended for holiday greetings, but are now available all year round.
For the 2008 Valentine's Day season, Mars introduced all-green bags of M&M's. This was due to common urban folklore that says green M&M's are an aphrodisiac. They were brought back for 2009 alongside the "Ms. Green Heats Up Valentine's Day" contest.
In October 2011, Mars released M&M's White Chocolate Candy Corn exclusively in the United States for Halloween. These candies come in three colors: white, bright yellow, and bright orange (the colors of candy corn).
The following is a summary of the changes to the colors of the flagship (milk chocolate) flavor of M&M's, the only filling manufactured since the beginning of the brand. From 1941 until 1969, each package contained M&M's in five different colors; when red M&M's were reintroduced in 1987, they were added as a sixth color instead of replacing any of the existing colors.
Red candies were eliminated in 1976 because of health concerns over the dye amaranth (FD&C Red #2), which was a suspected carcinogen, and were replaced with orange-colored candies. This was done despite the fact that M&M's did not contain the dye; the action was purely to satisfy worried consumers. Red candies were reintroduced ten years later, but they also kept the orange colored M&M's.
In July 2009, a study showed that a dye similar to that in blue M&M's showed benefits in helping paralyzed rats to walk again.
- M&M's candy fades to black and white, a December 30, 2003 Reuters article via USA Today
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to M&M's.|
- Smarties, a similar candy made by Nestle, not marketed in the U.S.