M&M’s crowdsources next TV spot via virtual coloring book

Dive Brief:

  • M&M’s developed a virtual coloring book at helpuscolor.mms.com, providing consumers a chance to be featured in the brand’s next TV spot, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Now through May 17, consumers can color pages in the digital M&M’s Coloring Book, with each page corresponding to a frame of the upcoming TV commercial.
  • The spot that will air in June will merge many of these creations for a message about togetherness.

Dive Insight:

M&M’s appears to be tapping into the adult coloring book trend, which first emerged several years ago and seems ripe for a comeback during the coronavirus pandemic as people look for soothing ways to pass the time. Similar activities, such as jigsaw puzzles, have experienced a spike in sales among quarantined consumers, and brands including Heinz and McDonald’s have seized the moment with their own offerings.

There are already examples of artists and hospitals designing coloring books to address the public health crisis and provide an outlet for entertainment. M&M’s is looking to translate the activity to the virtual domain and drum up engagement by giving participants the chance to have their creations featured in a TV ad. 

M&M’s is also promoting togetherness with this effort, a theme that was apparent in the brand’s marketing efforts before consumers started practicing social distancing. During the Oscars this year, the Mars brand highlighted new packaging that encourages fans to share M&M’s for special moments. Thirty six different messages were featured on the packaging, including “Emotional Support candy,” “It’s gonna be a loooong week,” “You make mama proud” and “Congrats on that thing you did.” ​

The latest effort aims to build good will at a time when consumers may be tired of being stuck at home, which is driving a desire for comfort food, resulting in an increase in candy and snack sales. By addressing the realities of the challenges inherent to social distancing, M&M’s could potentially show empathy for consumers, a sentiment that more people are demanding from brands. The campaign also and builds on parent company Mars’ $20 million commitment to support communities most affected by COVID-19. ​

Other brands have been creating fun activities for parents to do with kids as they juggle working from home and homeschooling. For example, Hasbro created The Bring Home the Fun website featuring games and activities for kids, as well as suggestions for projects that include Hasbro toys like Play-Doh crafts and trick shot challenges for Nerf blasters.

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