M&M's are the best-selling small round chocolate candies.
Who would have guessed that the idea for "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies was born in the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War? Legend has it that on a trip to Spain, Forrest Mars Sr. encountered soldiers who were eating pellets of chocolate that were encased in a hard sugary coating to prevent them from melting. Inspired by this idea, Mr. Mars went back to his kitchen and invented the recipe for "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies.
First sold to the public in 1941, "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies became a favorite of American GIs serving in World War II. Packaged in cardboard tubes, "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies were sold to the military as a convenient snack that traveled well in any climate. By the late 1940's, they became widely available to the public, who gave them an excellent reception. In 1948, the packaging changed from a tube form to the characteristic brown pouch known today.
M&M Growth in the USEdit
As America entered the 1950's, "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies were becoming a household word, particularly with the growth of television. In 1954, "M&M's"® Peanut Chocolate Candies were introduced to the brand's portfolio, and the sales of both varieties continued to grow. That same year, the universally loved "M&M's"® Brand Characters and the famous slogan, "The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand,"® debuted in the brand's initial TV advertising.
In 1960, "M&M's"® Peanut Chocolate Candies added three new colors to the mix: red, green and yellow were added to the original brown color. In 1972, the first appearance of the "M&M's"® Brand Characters on packaging reinforced brand awareness, as the characters became increasingly known through print and TV advertising. In 1976, the color orange was added to the "M&M's"® Peanut Chocolate Candies color mix.
That same year, Red "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies were removed from the traditional color blend due to public controversy surrounding a specific red food coloring. This red coloring was not used in "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies. However, in order to avoid consumer confusion the red candy was pulled from the color mix.
Throughout the Year, Around the World, & into SpaceEdit
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"® are now on permanent display at the space food exhibit of the National Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C. A special holiday line of "M&M's"® products was launched in the early, 80's. These new seasonal color blends included red and green "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies for Christmas and pastel colors for Easter. Also during the 1980's, the "M&M's"® Brand accelerated its international expansion, primarily entering Australian and European markets.
Red Brought BackEdit
Since the Red M&Ms were discontinued in 1976 because of a scare with a food dye called Red Dye #2. It came back in 1985, when the scare was over and was added back to the M&M color mix.
Taking A Mega-Brand to A New LevelEdit
In 1995, over a half-century after the candies were introduced, consumers across America helped write a new chapter in the history of the brand. A "mega" marketing event asked Americans to vote for a new color to appear in the traditional "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies mix. The choices included blue, pink, purple, or no change. Blue won by a landslide with 54% of the more than 10 million votes cast. Also, in 1995 "M&M's"® Mini Chocolate Baking Bits were introduced-adding colorful chocolate fun to the world of baking.
1996 - An Award-Winning YearEdit
1996 will be remembered for many exciting brand events. The advertising campaign for the "M&M's"® Brand utilizing the characters catapulted to the #1 position among more than 60 campaigns rated by USA Today. And the new characters became a hit with consumers-surpassing the popularity of Mickey Mouse or Bart Simpson. (Source: Marketing Evaluation, Inc.).......
Also in 1996, the brand introduced "M&M's"® MINIs Milk Chocolate Candies in re-closable plastic tubes in six different colors. In another major breakthrough, the "M&M's"® Brand Characters went "Virtual Hollywood" across the Internet with the opening of the "M&M's"® Studios® (). Visitors to the site found themselves within the star-studded, glamorous world of the "M&M's"® Brand spokescharacters. This parody of a Hollywood studio's Web site was as colorful as the "M&M's"® Stars themselves.
"M&M's"® WorldTM The New Millenium & BeyondEdit
"M&M's"® Chocolate Candies charted new "chocolate" waters in late 1997 with the grand opening of "M&M's"® World™-the brand's very own retail store on the Las Vegas strip in the US. This unique shopping experience features all the color and fun of "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies with one-of-a-kind branded merchandise ranging from T-shirts and designer jackets to designer dresses, jewelry and furniture.
In early 1998, the "M&M's"® Characters proclaimed themselves the "Official Spokescandies of the New Millennium." Since MM means 2000 in Roman numerals, the "M&M's"® Brand is the only candy that can make that connection. The Red and Yellow "M&M's"® Characters love to be in the limelight, and they decided to milk it for all it was worth by kicking off the Millennium celebration in 1998. And in November 1998, the "M&M's"® Characters starred the brand's first feature film when their new 3D movie attraction opened at the Las Vegas "M&M's"® World™ store.
1999 also brings news for the world's largest confectionery brand. In January, "M&M's"® Crispy Chocolate Candies were introduced to consumers for the first time. Response to the new product was overwhelming.
Another historic moment occurred in the summer of 2000. It was finally decided, after all these years, that "M&M's"® Chocolate Candies were just too good to be called "Plain," and all of the packaging underwent a name change from "M&M's"® Plain Chocolate Candies to "M&M's"® Milk Chocolate Candies. The announcement was made by the outspoken "M&M's"® Red Spokescandy because he claims he was the one lobbying for this change for a long time and finally convinced everyone at M&M/MARS to make the change.
- Main article: M&M's Characters
Anthropomorphic M&M's characters appear in most of the brand's advertising.