M&M’s Light Touch for Dark Chocolate

CHICAGO Eschewing the “elegant” approach adopted in most dark-chocolate advertising, M&M’s is upping the fun quotient in a print campaign for its newest product extension.

One ad created by Omnicom Group’s BBDO, New York, for M&M’s Dark Chocolate debuted Wednesday at New York’s Guggenheim Museum declaring “Dark just got fun.” The execution features M&M’s mascot “Red” playing hopscotch in front of Edvard Munch’s dark masterpiece The Scream.

The Hackettstown, N.J., arm of Mars Inc. is also offering a reward of 2 million Dark Chocolate M&M’s for the return of the painting, which was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, on Aug. 22, 2004.

Dark Chocolate became a permanent part of M&M’s roster after e-mail pleas from more than 30,000 consumers asked for the flavor’s return following the in-and-out “Go to the dark side” tie-in with the 2005 release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

The candy maker has been building up national distribution of the new product since July, and is adopting an opposing stance in a market where dark chocolate is predominantly marketed as a sober treat.

In a survey of 1,522 adult U.S. women by researchers CyberPulse Advisory, 65 percent said dark chocolate is more serious than other chocolates. Even diehards admitted that dark is more classical music than reggae and more black tie than a picnic. More than 85 percent said dark chocolate is more sophisticated and that they would be interested in a fun, new way to eat the indulgence.