- M&M's is seeking votes for three new, limited-edition flavors with a campaign that lets mobile users choose their among Crunchy Espresso, Crunchy Raspberry and Crunchy Mint, per a news release. The new flavors, which are made with dark chocolate inside a crispy shell, are on sale at select retailers this week and at stores nationwide on April 1.
- The candy brand is inviting fans to vote by taking a selfie at flavorvote.mms.com and adding stickers to represent their favorite flavor. They can also share their preferences on Instagram and Twitter with hashtags #VoteCrunchyEspresso, #VoteCrunchyRaspberry or #VoteCrunchyMint. Camera-shy mobile users can submit a vote or text the word "VOTE" to 84444.
- Fans can purchase and try each new flavor and cast a vote for their favorite once a day until May 25. The flavor with the most votes will be announced in August 2018 and will be sold at stores nationwide for an 18-month period.
M&M's latest fan choice campaign follows a 2016 promotion that celebrated the brand's 75th anniversary by giving consumers a chance to express their preferences among Honey Nut, Chili Nut and Coffee Nut M&M's. More than 1 million votes were submitted, with consumers selecting Coffee Nut as their favorite, per Food Business News. Opening up votes this year via selfies might replicate that success and is a fun way for the Mars' candy maker to engage consumers on mobile platforms and social media that are a key way to reach millennials and teens. It's not alone among snack brands adopting this approach: Lay's last year let fans cast their vote for new chip flavors via polls on Snapchat, along with other social media platforms.
A challenge for M&M's is to create snacks that are compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Parent company Mars Wrigley Confectionery last year conducted a survey that found 98% of Americans said a person can lead a healthy lifestyle and still have a treat, per Candy Industry. An updated survey of millennials and baby boomers this year found that about three out of four people (73%) indicated that they eat treats "just because they want one." Nearly half of millennials (47%) have a treat to boost their mood, compared with 36% of Gen Xers and 28% of baby boomers. The survey also found that more than half (52%) of millennials have purchased a treat because they wanted to share a picture of it on social media, affirming findings that the demographic group is more likely to seek out experiences to post about online.
The contest additionally follows M&M's social media sweepstakes before this year's Super Bowl. The brand asked people to record their best touchdown dance while featuring M&M's candy, and to post the videos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to win. The brand has been successful on social media, with M&M's garnering a 7.29% engagement rate on its Facebook page in 2015, compared with a 1.75% average engagement rate for CPG brands, per Campaign. On Twitter, the brand saw a 4.26% engagement rate and more than 411,000 engagements with its content in 2015.