Mars turns holiday movie night into brand love for M&M’S

19 January 2023 | By Jareen Imam, Sr. Content and Editorial Manager

Colorful M&M’S candies
coverage of CES

This blog post is a part of CES coverage from Amazon Ads. During the conference, which took place 5–8 January 2023, in Las Vegas, we showcased fresh insights, trends and products that can help brands enhance their marketing strategies and grow their businesses.

Families around the world have different traditions to celebrate the holidays, from baking cookies to preparing recipes to watching their favourite movies. Mars, Incorporated, the world’s leading manufacturer of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity confections, wanted to use the holiday season to help promote their candy product, M&M’S, as a favourite movie-time snack, and they turned to Amazon Ads to make that marketing goal come to life.

At CES, one of the most influential technology conferences in the world, Amazon Ads sat down with brand leaders and agency partners in our content studio to discuss ways they are connecting with audiences, staying top of mind and inspiring brand love and loyalty. At the 2023 conference, we interviewed Ron Amram, senior director and global head of media for Mars, to learn more about how Mars uses creative marketing strategies and innovative solutions to build brand excitement for M&M’S.

During his conversation with Amazon Ads, Amram shared the goals, strategies, and tactics Mars used in order to increase consideration, conversion and brand love for M&M’S in “M&M’S Movie Night” campaign. The brand brought back the campaign, which had originally launched in 2021, the following year due to its inaugural success. Dive into his interview below.

Tell me about the Mars M&M’S Movie Night campaign. What was it? What was special about it?

The M&M’S Movie Night campaign ran through the Halloween and holiday season. The campaign combined brand building with audience communication, encouraging them to enjoy M&M’S while watching their favourite Halloween and holiday movies.

The campaign also offered a deal for customers. Customers who bought a certain number of Mars products received a Prime Video credit. The Mars Wrigley USA team and Amazon Ads team built interactive experiences using a mix of new and proven high-performing ad strategies across screens and devices to help maximize reach, to engage new households and to help Mars drive potential sales.

Although the campaign started in the US, it was created with a global audience in mind and eventually was successfully scaled to other marketplaces like the UK, Mexico, and Canada. We measured strong return-on-investment results, thanks to a strong full-funnel marketing strategy that positioned M&M’S as the preferred movie-time candy, which ultimately seemed to resonate with our customers.

What were the goals for the Movie Night campaign?

The goal for the campaign was to work cohesively as one team to build a global campaign to reach existing and new customers. We prioritized sales lift outside of the Amazon store, new-to-brand conversion rate and return on ad spend [ROAS]. Our sights were set on outperforming our 2021 Movie Night campaign, which we accomplished.

Tell me about the campaign strategy. What solutions were used, and what was the overall strategy?

Our campaign strategy focused on broadening customer touchpoints. Using this multi-pronged approach allowed us to also conduct a new path-to-purchase study across the multiple customer touchpoints after the campaign ended.

Was the campaign successful, and why?

The Halloween portion of the Movie Night campaign resulted in $10.34 ROAS that far exceeded our 2021 Movie Night campaign, by 4X. We learned best practices from this campaign to apply to forward-looking campaigns.

As audience fragmentation grows, how does Mars stay top of mind with customers?

Media fragmentation has been a reality now for almost two decades, but the principles of brand building, advertising and media strategy have not changed. Reach, consumer attention and great brand communication are core principles that build muscle memory for brands.

How does Mars continue to build brand love and loyalty with today’s consumers?

We know that great brand building starts with great products that tell great authentic stories.