- Mars-owned M&M's released a teaser video for its Super Bowl LII commercial, which stars actor Danny DeVito wearing a red M&M's shirt floating in a pool of melted chocolate, per a news release. The clip is running on the brand's social media channels with the tagline, "Are you ready for M&M's and Danny DeVito to make wishes come true on Super Bowl LII Sunday?."
- The brand previewed the commercial, made with BBDO New York, for film critics and shared their reactions during the Critics' Choice Awards Red Carpet Show on Jan. 11. The full 30-second spot will air during the first quarter of the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, and also features musician, actor and YouTuber Todrick Hall. The ad’s imagery is a nod to the typical ending of the candy brand's commercials, where a single red M&M rises to the surface of a pool of chocolate.
- M&M's earlier this month launched a contest across its social media channels asking fans to submit their best touchdown dances with the candy and using the hashtag #MMSuperBowlLIIDanceContest for a chance to win prizes.
M&M's is returning to Super Bowl advertising following a three-year hiatus and clearly wants to tailor some excitement around its ad in the lead-up to the big game. Teasing Super Bowl commercials has become common practice for marketers — fellow Mars brand Skittles did so last week for an ad that won't actually air on TV and that only one person will ever see — but Mars pre-screening the DeVito spot for film critics is a fairly novel way to hype up the creative for viewers and fits in with the actor's Hollywood clout.
Marketers faced criticisms last year for releasing their Super Bowl ads in full before airtime, leading many to take a more measured and secretive approach in 2018. The addition of the social media contest could further drive engagement for M&M's ahead of the game. Touchdown dances are popular among NFL players, and that translates to fans who share their own takes on the celebrations on social media.
Recent research has shown that in-game Super Bowl advertisers see benefits in the form of social media engagement and sales increases long after the game ends. M&M's parent Mars has been shuffling its Super Bowl strategy over the past few years at a time when candy brands are struggling to attract consumers that more often favor healthier, less-sugary snacking alternatives. For Super Bowl LI, the company promoted Skittles and Snickers, the latter of which ran a much-talked-about live spot starring the actor Adam Driver.