When Forrest Mars, Sr., patented the process for creating M&M’s candies in 1941, they were a practical way for people to enjoy a little bit of the country’s rationed chocolate supply during World War II. Since those troubled times, the candy-coated buttons of chocolate have become one of the most recognizable candies in the world. They are sold in more than 100 countries, with generations of consumers having grown up with the candies. Even the animated candy characters that the company introduced in its advertising (originally voiced by Jon Lovitz and John Goodman) have become recognizable characters in their own right as the brand’s “spokescandies.”
Mars has established a number of promotions and tie-ins to keep the M&M’s brand in the public’s awareness. M&M’s have been the official candy of Nascar since 2006. There have been co-branded programs with movie brands such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Pirates of the Caribbean. In addition, Mars, Incorporated, has also established a number of brand retail locations in high-profile areas, such as Times Square in Manhattan and the Las Vegas Strip.
The popularity of the candy and its strong brand presence has allowed Mars Retail Group (a division of Mars, Incorporated) to establish a strong licensing program across a variety of categories, ranging from apparel to scented candles. Monet International has created a line of M&M’s jewelry, while Ecoist has created eco-friendly handbags. Other licensees include Pinnacle Designs, Starbrite Illuminations, CandyRific, and The Hillman Group. Mars Retail Group will continue to add licensees to the brand. With seven successful decades at the brand’s back, the next ten years can only get sweeter for M&M’s.
CandyRific produces a full line of M&M’s and Star Wars co-branded novelties, including handheld fans (shown), coin banks, and candy dispensers.
Ecoist uses obsolete and unused candy wrappers to create a line of M&M’s handbags, preventing more than five million wrappers from reaching landfills.
Monet International has created a line of silver jewelry, including rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and keepsakes, that feature the M&M’s brand and characters.
Starbrite Illumination’s new scented M&M’s Candles are designed to represent the personalities of the brand’s most popular “spokescandies” such as Yellow, Red, and Green.
Springs Creative has created a line of fabrics and fleece throws based on the M&M’s spokescandies characters.
The new M&M’s Chocolate Lollipops from Maromar Chocolates feature M&M’s spokescandies Red and Yellow, with Blue, Green, and Orange coming up.