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Mars Unit Taps Imc2

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CHICAGO Mars today named digital shop imc2 lead agency for all strategic planning, creative and media work on its customized candy unit Mars Direct, as well as for My M&M's and My Dove brands.

The win marks the first time the division of the candy maker has selected an online shop to handle all media and planning duties, according to imc2, Dallas. It reflects a shift among marketers, where digital is emerging as the focus of marketing campaigns, the agency said.

"Our goal in conducting this review was to identify a single firm that could be a partner to Mars Direct regardless of medium," said Jim Cass, gm of Mars Direct, in a statement.

Mars, Hackettstown, N.J., launched its customized candy business in 2006 with the help of DraftFCB, Chicago. Consumers could visit Mymms.com, then choose M&M's by color and order personalized messages printed on the candy shell. The concept was novel enough to persuade candy lovers to pay about $9 for a pound of M&M's. Soon Mars expanded its capacity to meet personalized orders as demand grew.

Mymms.com initially handled seasonal messages for birthdays, holidays and special events. Today that business prints logos of Major League Baseball teams on M&M's and has a business-to-business outreach for printing corporate logos on the candy pieces. Mars spent nearly $15 million on Mymms.com last year, up from about $5 million in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Likewise, MyDoveChocolate.com enables people to order Dove pieces with personalized messages printed on the foil wrapper.