Long, Long…but not that Long Ago!
M&M’s started its gigantic universal recognition in a small kitchen by Forrest Mars Sr, all he had were a few utensils and a small oven. It was during the Spanish Civil War, young soldiers were puppets of conflictions between sides, not knowing when they will go back home and if they might make it for that matter of fact. While sustaining their orders, Forrest Mars Sr. noticed that little was there to make their time bearable, as little as a chocolate shaped pebble! Forrest Mars Sr. noticed that these little miracle pebbles were fun and convenient to eat and easy to carry around, he also noticed that its significance was due to its hard sugar coating over the chocolate which kept it from melting. Inspired by this revelation he fought along his curiosity back to his kitchen and there he created what we now know; the “M&M’s” Plain Chocolate Candies.
They soon become effect in production in 1941 and became a favorite for the GI’s serving the WWII. M&M’s were easy to carry and they would sustain in any climate, back then they were packed in cardboard tubes. Consequently, in the late 40’s they were given a broad and memorable acceptance in the US market then they were transformed from the cardboard tube package to the form we now know; the brown pouched bags.
With the growth of TV in the 50’s M&M’s quickly became a popular word and chocolate in almost every house. In 1954 the peanut range joined the family of M&M's and escalated sales everywhere giving a larger selection. M&M's soon became not only a delicious chocolate snack but also an entertaining and loved one when it associated its chocolate brand with its new cool characters plus a slogan that strikes bulls eye; "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth—not in your hand"®. This was broadcasted in its initial TV advertising.
Originally, black and white were the theme colors of the plain chocolates and brown for the peanut range chocolates, but then later in the 1960 M&M's introduced three new colors to the peanut range; red, green and yellow. In 1972 brand awareness was reinforced through TV and print advertising to market the M&M's brand characters. Later in 1976, orange was born and fostered along with its siblings in the peanut range.
Downsizing Poor Red
In that same year, there was a public controversy surrounding food coloring using the red color hence M&M's rectified red from the mix to avoid any further confusions from the consumer's mind although that particular red food coloring wasn’t used in M&M's chocolate candies.
Up, Up and into Space
America was a great success for M&M's but in the 80's their endeavor led them to unlock a new route into European markets and if that was good enough then M&M's would have settled back to bask under its glowing success however they went to space literally. It was in 1981 when NASA's first space astronauts chose M&M's to be included in their food supply into space and ever since then these brave candies are permanently under display in the food exhibit of the National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C.
He's Back but not Black
The 80's were also the period when M&M's first launched the holiday themes for its candies with the seasonal colors of red and green for Christmas and of pastel colors for Easter. But then in 1987 an overwhelming request from consumers, demanding the return of the color red took place, this was a very important year and emotional for all the other colors.
An addition of two new lines of chocolates to the family in 1990 were very successful; Peanut Butter M&M's and Almond Chocolate M&M's, however in 1995 after half of a century from birth, M&M's was looking into addressing a new color into the family. A "mega" marketing event asked Americans all over the USA to vote for their new preferred color; blue, pink and purple or no changes were among the votes. But it was a 54% landslide of 10 million...
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