M&M’s is celebrating the brand’s 75th anniversary today with one goal beyond a great party: to still be relevant 75 years from now.
The Mars-owned candy brand has been one of America’s most eaten and celebrate confections for decades, and the company is determined to maintain its relevance even as sugary treats have been fighting an uphill battle lately against public health authorities, parents and the disfavor of some consumers.
Over the last several years, M&M’s efforts have ranged from hatching many new varieties, from Almond M&Ms to mint-flavored ones, as well as other gambits including providing order customization and putting commercials on the Super Bowl.
The strategy from here on involves some “obvious” moves, such as new colors, flavors, textures, fillings and package designs made for on-the-go eating, according to USA Today. Others will be “more subtle,” such as moving to natural rather than artificial flavors over the next five years.
“That’s the beauty of this brand,” Tracy Massey, president of Mars North America, told the newspaper. “You can really innovate all over the place.”
Berta De Pablos-Barbier, Mars’ North American VP of marketing, also told Adweek how Mars has kept the brand fresh: “M&M’s is a brand that’s always adapted to the trends of the times, adopting variations to keep the consumer interested.”
Besides innovation, M&M’s widespread recognition and huge customer base has kept the brand going, and recent marketing efforts featuring animatronic M&Ms have given the candy more personality.
With all of that behind it, Mars is launching its biggest marketing campaign ever for the tiny candies. It includes an commercial featuring an updated version of the song Candyman with singer Aloe Blacc and DJ and producer Zedd, modernizing the Sammy Davis-delivered tune from the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The remix of Candyman is an ode to the brand, cutting to snippets of various M&M’s TV commercials over the decades, including the iconic one where a guy in a suit and tie demonstrates how, “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth … not in your hands.” (There’s a three-minute version on YouTube.)
Mars also plans to bring back retro packaging from the 1940s through the 1990s to celebrate the evolution of M&M’s. And it’s giving consumers a vote on the next permanent flavor of peanut M&Ms among three options now hitting stores: chili nut, coffee nut and honey nut.