Forrest Mars Senior developed his recipe for M&M’s Chocolate Candies when he saw soldiers eating pellets of chocolate encased in a sugary coating during the Spanish Civil War. M&M’s went on to become a staple for American G.I.’s serving in World War II. They were also included in food rations for US astronauts on the firstshuttle flight and were the Official Snackfood of the 1984 Olympic Games. M&M’s became widely available to the American public during the 1940s. In 1948, the brown pouch, we are familiar with today, replaced the original cardboard tube. M&M’s is a $3 billion global brand that has secured and retained its dominant market position as number one confectionery brand, through extensive use of globalmarketing strategies.This strategy has been underpinned with new product developments and strong advertising ‘personalities’ introduced to the M&M’s family. Deciding Between Standardisation and Customisation Standardised Marketing Mix Adapted Marketing Mix
Building and Developing the M&M’s Brand Characters
M&M’s branding has hinged on the deliberate developmentof distinct personalities or characters for each M&M’s colour. Globally recognisable packaging, the ‘melt in your mouth, not in your hand’ slogan and the distinctive ‘M’ on each candy all play an important role. In 1954, M&M’s Chocolate Candies were introduced. Red first appeared in TV advertising in 1954 and in Ireland in 1986. As a frontrunner, he feels distinctly superior to Yellow and is proudto be a ‘Spokescandy’ for M&M’s. He feels the need to continually remind consumers why he is so special and in his relationship with the other M&M’s characters he has a tendency to be scheming, attention-seeking and cunning. Red is the undoubted ‘leader of the M&M’s pack’. The slightly more hapless Yellow feels that as a peanut, it is his right to be loved for being just what he is.Yellow relieson Red to tell him exactly what to do and trusts him implicitly. This allows Red to take advantage of Yellow unmercifully, a situation that has existed since Yellow was introduced in late 1954. Despite his hard shell and peanut and chocolate centre,Yellow is at heart a softie. In 1995, over half a century after the candies were introduced, consumers in America helped write a new chapter in thehistory of the brand with a huge marketing drive. Consumers were asked to vote for a new colour to appear in the M&M’s pack.The options available to them included blue, pink, purple or no change – ‘no change’ won by 54 per cent with over 10 million votes cast. By 1996, the highly influential ‘USA Today’ newspaper had placed the M&M’s brand and characters at pole position in an assessment of over 60advertising campaigns. M&M’s characters outstripped the popularity of both Mickey Mouse and Bart Simpson in this research. In 1997 at the height of girl power Ms. Green was introduced in America. Making her way to Ireland in 2001, she has been smarter, more
M&M’s Global Marketing Efforts
A global business identifies world markets for its products. Global companies plan and co-ordinate activitieson a global basis. By operating in more than one country, benefits from savings or economies on activities such as R&D, marketing, operations and finance are achieved, which may not be available to purely domestic operators. M&M’s is an example of a successful global business endeavour. MARS Inc. makes brands available to consumers ‘wherever and however they want to buy them’ and markets them incountless countries throughout the world. This global company treats the world as a single marketplace. M&M’s is marketed the same the world over from Eastern Europe to Hong Kong, New Zealand or Ireland.
While treating the world as a single market MARS Inc is adapting a standardised marketing mix. Companies operating in many markets must decide how much, if at all, to adapt their marketing...