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19 May

The first variation of M&Ms (with peanuts) was introduced in 1954. The flavor was announced. People ate it. They liked it. It’s still around today.

Over the years, other variations have been introduced, including peanut butter, almond, cripsy, pretzel, dark chocolate, raspberry, pumpkin spice and mint.

But this year, M&Ms took a page out of the Lay’s Potato Chips playbook and decided to let the fans vote. In an election year, people may be tired of voting, but they never tire of M&Ms. More than 400 million are made every single day.

Fan voting is a great way to promote new flavors. It creates buzz, involves users at a level like never before and can increase sales as people snatch up three bags at a time so they can try all three and decide for themselves. As soon as we figure out how to incorporate fan voting into our clients marketing ("Which MRI machine should we buy? You decide!”), we’ll do it.

mms blogpost

For now, we wanted to play along with the company's plan. We gathered the three new Peanut M&M flavors from our local Walgreens: Honey Nut, Coffee Nut and Chili Nut and turned the bags loose in the break room.

By the end of the day, we had three empty bags, a dozen full employees and opinions on which flavor was most likely to win the coveted permanent space on the shelf.

The overall winner was Coffee Nut. Agency staffers said it tasted like a chocolate covered espresso bean, describing it as “delicious” and “what we will dine on in heaven.”

A very close second was Honey Nut. Some thought it tasted like caramel, while others thought the overall effect was a bit too sweet. Those who voted it #1 said it reminded them of a Bit-O-Honey.

A distant third was Chili Nut. Those who dislike spicy foods were turned off immediately, while those who crave spice were disappointed that it tasted like a regular M&M until the spice kicked in after you’d already swallowed it.

So, congratulations, M&Ms. We took the bait and bought three bags, accepting your marketing offer in the name of research. Well played. And good job on the new flavors. The truth is, we’d eat them all because, well, they’re M&Ms.

Mark Schulte

Mark Schulte - Creative Director
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