There has been a lot of hype recently about a new character of M&M’s candy being “revealed” during the Super Bowl, Ms. Brown. A lot of time and money is being devoted to television ads, print ads and “teasers” on social media. Not to mention the $3.5 million being spent for the 30-second commercial. What will Ms. Brown look like? Sound like? My question is…why would you invest so much time, money and energy into a little piece of chocolate?
Who would have thought when the confectionary giant Mars launched a new campaign in 1995 for computer animated “spokescandies,” it would become the center of a Super Bowl commercial 17 years later—and all the hype to go with it. These color-animated candies recruited some of the biggest names in Hollywood as celebrity voices. Including Jon Lovitz, John Goodman and the late Phil Hartman.
What is it about these colorful little characters that makes us want to purchase everything from coffee mugs and apparel to collectibles and racing gear. The answer is easy—the brand.
Mars brings the M&Ms brand “personality” to life through animated characters who speak to all ages and create funny, clever even a little racy moments that we can all connect with. All that and what we are really taking about is just candy-coated chocolate!
At HEASLEY&PARTNERS, we believe that great brands are built on three essential brand elements. The first is a brand must be genuine, so you can’t fake it. The second is meaningful, it must mean something to the people it serves. And, the third is a brand must be different—different from anything else out there. The M&M’s brand, and its lovable little characters, has all characteristics and they own this product segment.
Hershey has candy coated chocolates similar to M&Ms, but few would know it. And who cares? They’re the “kiss” people. In Hershey, Pennsylvania (also known as Chocolate Town, USA) the street lights are kisses. Hershey is genuinely about kisses, just as Mars is about M&Ms. Of course this should lead you to ask, “What am I about? What’s my product about? My company?” Do you think Mars would be spending the big bucks on Ms. Brown unless they knew their brand? Of course not. How much money are you wasting promoting your business without knowing what you stand for? Even one dollar is too much.
So, what will Ms. Brown have to offer? Will she show us her vulnerable side? Will she connect with fans? How will she be different? I think she wears glasses? From her close friends and colleagues, “Ms. Brown is very intelligent and has a sharp wit.” She has been behind the scenes as “chief chocolate officer” for decades, and has finally decided to come out of her shell (no pun intended).
All we know is…if she is anything like her colorful counterparts, I’m sure she will not disappoint us. We will have to wait until February fifth to find out. Until then…
What is branding? Heart & Mind® Branding.