We were on this story well before the New York Times, who wrote yesterday about the new M&Ms Premiums, the fact that they have no shell, and the new ad campaign that goes with it. Here are some of the points from the article that caught my eye:
""Even just seeing one color of an M&M helps say, ooh that's something different," said Susan Credle, executive creative director at BBDO New York, which handles M&M's advertising.""
Spoken like a true ad executive...looking for the ooh instead of the happy customer.
""We found that premium chocolate lovers want the smooth, creamy taste to be the first thing they taste in a chocolate product, so the smooth shell of M&M's Premiums enables them to taste the chocolate first," said Michele Kessler, vice president for marketing at Mars Snackfood."
Hellooo...premium chocolate lovers aren't buying M&Ms for that purpose. We/They buy M&Ms for the...wait for it...wait for it...taste and texture of an M&M!
"The Mars research and development team came up with a new manufacturing technique to make the shell, she said. And some ingredients are different, so the candy can accept the shimmering finishes and exotic flavors."
"Ms. Kessler said she was not concerned about moving too far from the main M&M's product."
"They're still lentils, they still have the 'M' on them," she said. "They're certainly colorful in a different way, but in a more premium way that reinforces what the product brings."
Ask Coca-Cola how depending on market researchers and agencies worked out for them when they launched New Coke.
I checked out the Mocha flavor of the new M&Ms Premiums line recently. I had extremely high hopes, and looked forward to checking out the other flavors.
When you first see any of the Premiums, the first thing you notice is the beautiful colors on the shell - a mix of relevant colors for the flavor, making them both visually appealing, but also a natural extension of the look of a regular M&M.
Then you eat one (or three as it were). The flavor is pretty good actually, its a nice quality of chocolate (for a mass brand), and in this case the mocha flavor was present but not overwhelming.
The problem, and its a big one in my opinion, is not in the quality, beauty or flavor. The problem is that they took away the hard shell. There is no crunch, there is no texture contract between the shell and the inside, nothing. What the heck happened to "melts in your mouth, not in your hands"??? That shell is one, if not the, differentiator for M&Ms - the thing that has made them so unique, popular, classic. Why in the world would they change this.
Kyle Busch's has won seven times this season, with 10 top-five finishes. So M&M/Mars capitalizing on their team (they're Busch's sponsor) by launching a new blend of personalized "My M&M's" candies featuring Busch. The blend includes yellow, brown, red and white candies (M&M Racing's signature colors) printed with Busch's face, autograph, car number and the message "Go Kyle!"
They're available here for $12.99 per seven-ounce bag, with a minimum of three bags. Big Nascar families can economize with the five-pound bulk box, at $140. My M&M's will donate $5,000 (128 standard orders' worth) to the Kyle Busch Foundation, which supports children's homes that provide safe, supportive environments.
We learned of this last night when no one knew what the deal was with these stark Snickers and 3 Musketeers wrappers at Walmart. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, now that we're ready to post about it, the mystery may have been solved.
The packaging looked not only simple, but as many in the blogosphere noted, strangely soviet, especially with the single star. Was this some cold war throwback? Was it part of the branding for the Olympics? No one knew.
As it turns out, it is in fact just nostaligic packaging, no bigger story. The look goes back to their original 1930's wrapper - the single star turns out to be the original Mars logo.
Mars and Walmart could have made this more clear, not only clearing up confusion but driving sales because they are sort of cool now that we know what's up.
A refurbished 1970s-era station wagon will be cruising the country this summer on the Milky Way road trip, bringing Country Karaoke, family photos and product sampling to fairs and festivals across the USA. Scheduled stops for the Milky Way Road Trip include stops at classic American summer events such as the Taste of Cincinnati, the Hometown Milwaukee 4th of July parade, and the Brickyard Classic in Indianapolis.
In addition, Milky Way is sponsoring the Great American Country Tour Bus as it crosses America, stopping at concerts and popular music festivals. Now in its third year, the GAC Tour Bus will stop at some of the biggest country music events of the summer during its 27,000-mile trek across 25 states. Music fans can sample Milky Way products while enjoying music by their favorite country artists.
Mars' latest Starburst offering, Gummi Burst, is the star of a new campaign created by Digitas that includes a new animated Web series on Starburst's own YouTube channel. "It really is a fresh look at their digital strategy," said Digitas' SVP of marketing, Todd Stanley. "It's targeting a very fickle and hard-to-reach ... audience for Starburst."
I'm having trouble finding it on YouTube, to be perfectly honest. We'll put it up when we find it, but if someone knows where it is let us know. In the meantime, here's a funny review of Starburst Gummi Burst">Starburst Gummi Bursts:
Did you know the cacao tree is responsible for a $13 billion dollar-a-year chocolate industry in the U.S. alone. That's a lot of chocolate. So it stands to reason that with climate change and the spread of diseases, chocolate companies are looking to make sure their cacao stocks are strong. Which is why Mars Candy, along with IBM and the USDA are spending $10 million to sequence the entire genome of the plant.
This story started back in February, when The Naked Cowboy, a Times Square street performer said he was going to sue M&M/Mars because they made an M&M version of his character at their Times Square store. We thought is was ridiculous then, and since he just got the green light to pursue the lawsuit, we think its even more ridiculous now.