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M&M’s is back advertising in the Super Bowl this year, with a new creative strategy that centers celebrities as the stars of the candy brand’s narrative, instead of their at times controversial spokescandies.
The campaign, designed with help from long-standing agency partner BBDO, focuses on throwing a bone to those who didn’t win big, specifically Dan Marino, Terrell Owens and Bruce Smith, football legends who didn’t win in their Super Bowl appearances. The athletes will be joined by actress Scarlett Johansson, who didn’t win for two Oscar nominations.
Here’s the M&M’s connection, and it’s no less of a stunt than previous Super Bowl marketing efforts: the ring given to these almost winners is created from peanut butter M&Ms.
Picking up on the trend of lab grown diamonds, this ring features real diamonds and 14K gold. The M&M’s peanut butter was put in a high-pressure environment, 3000 degrees Celsius and 800,000 pounds per square inch of pressure to get it into diamond form.
“I’m no stranger to laying it all out on the field and still not seeing those efforts result in a win,” Owens said in a statement. “You’re not going to win every game in life, which is why you’ve got to remember to have fun through it all.”
The ad, Mars-Wrigley-owned M&M’s ninth Super Bowl appearance, will appear in the first commercial break in the first quarter.
While M&Ms spokescandies will be in the ad to provide commentary, they’re not the focus as they had been last year. In 2022, the company updated its cast of spokescandies to adapt to the times, dropping titles like “Mr.” and “Mrs,” to de-emphasize gender, switching Green’s high-heeled boots for sneakers and introducing Purple, a new spokescandy devoted to the issues of self-acceptance and inclusivity.
While the candy brand skipped the Super Bowl in 2022, its 2023 spot focused on the rebranding of the spokescandies, and the controversy it drew from some conservative outlets. After posting a statement in late January 2023 that the spokescandies were taking an indefinite pause, the 2023 Super Bowl ad presented the spokescandies at a press conference, back to their original “jobs.”
In addition to the ad, M&M’s is partnering with clothing brand Champion to release a set of M&M’s-branded sweats for the losing team. Fans can enter to win the Champion Comfort Collection from now until Feb. 11, pledge loyalty to their team, and if that side loses, a select number of fans will receive set, with a pack of peanut M&M’s.