M&M’s has created a market share that has yet been unmatched by the competition. In 2004, M&M’s achieved an impressive $201 million in candy sales in the U.S. alone, making it the number one selling bagged or boxed chocolate candy in the country, beating out its nearest competitor, Hershey’s Kisses (Candy Industry). The success of M&M’s is due to many factors such as attractive and unique advertisements and promotions, customer participation and feedback defining the produced output, and a wide range of customized product possibilities.
The creation of M&M began when Forrest Mars Sr. made a trip to Spain during the Spanish Civil War (M&M’s website). While there, he came across some soldiers who were eating chocolates pellets covered in a hard sugar coating. The main purpose of that hard sugar coating was to maintain the chocolate freshness and prevent it from melting. Upon his return to the United States, Mars Sr. returned to his kitchen and invented the recipe for M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy (M&M’s website). As could be deduced from the name, the founder is a member of the Mars family, the group responsible for Mars Inc (M&M’s website). Mars today owns many companies producing and distributing products worldwide, one of which is MasterFoods; which produces M&M’s (www.masterfoods.com).
By late 1940, M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candy became widely available to the public and received a great reception (M&M’s website). The public was impressed with the unique qualities of the product that were previously unmatched in the market. It was soon after that the candies became a favorite among American Soldiers serving in World War II, for the same reason that they were popular in Spain (M&M’s website). They were durable candies that could withstand heat and wouldn’t perish over a long journey.
By the 1950’s, the intense television and advertising campaigns designed to market M&M’s Plain Chocolate Candies had made them a household name (M&M’s website). In 1954, M&M’s expanded the brand offering and introduced M&M'S Peanut Chocolate Candies; sales of both varieties continued to grow (Candies with Attitude). This expansion gave way to the creation of the defining brand characteristics of today; the characters and the slogan. Red and Yellow made their debut in 1954, bringing with them the slogan, “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth not in your hand (M&M’s website)." Both the characters and the slogan became the basis for continued TV and radio advertisements.
Several decades later, the company determined it was time to expand its product offerings to provide customers with seasonal options. In the early 1980s, a special holiday line of M&M'S Chocolate Candy products was launched (M&M’s website). The new seasonal color blends included red and green colors for Christmas, and pastel colors for Easter. Also in the same decade, M&M'S Brand accelerated its international expansion entering the European, Asian and Australian markets (M&M’s website). In 1981, M&M'S Chocolate Candies were chosen by the first space shuttle astronauts to be included in their food supply (M&M’s website). M&M'S Chocolate Candies are now on permanent display at the space food exhibit of the National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. (M&M’s website).
In the 1990’s a huge marketing event surveyed Americans about the new color to appear in the traditional Chocolate Candies color mix. Blue color earned his position inside the color mix with 54% of the total votes (M&M’s website). Also during this decade, three other varieties were brought to the M&M’S Brand portfolio, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Candies, the Almond Chocolate Candies and the Chocolate Mini Baking Bits (M&M’s website).
In 1996 a strong advertisement campaign utilizing the M&M’s Brand Characters catapulted the M&M’s Candies Chocolate popularity and as a result of this campaign, which gained the first position among sixty different campaigns rated by USA...