Color Coding

Posted on by Chief Marketer Staff


Hackettstown, NJ-based Masterfoods USA’s M&M brand this month flips the switch on the largest marketing campaign in its 61-year history, a worldwide Global Color Vote that will let citizens of 78 countries select which of three colors — purple, pink or aqua — gets added to the product mix next summer.

The voting begins March 6 at (which will be accessible in more than 15 languages), through a toll-free hotline, at kiosks in participating retail locations, and via mail. Specially marked packages will contain samples of the nominees.

M&M’s first global marketing effort boasts unified advertising, p.r., direct, retail, sponsorship, and online components, “but different countries will adapt the program in different ways,” says Masterfoods spokesperson Michelle Weese.

The polls close May 31. The winning color will be announced June 19 at an event in New York City and start a six-month run in packaging in August. Masterfoods will decide later if it gets permanent placement alongside green, red, yellow, brown, orange, and blue — the last of which was added in a similar voting campaign in 1995.

New York City’s Grey Interactive, Porter Novelli, and BBDO handle the online efforts, p.r., and ads, respectively; TJ Paul, Rydal, PA, handles retail activity.

Purchase, NY-based Pepsi-Cola Co. got more bang for its Super Bowl buck by linking its air time to Internet activity in a Britney and the Pepsi Time Machine effort. A special area on contained six spots (from BBDO, New York City, with animation by Gotham’s Dogmatic) that sent celebrity endorser Britney Spears back in time to recreate classic Pepsi commercials. Visitors got to choose which would air during the game. While at the site, they also could bid at an auction benefiting the Britney Spears Foundation and enter a sweeps for Pepsi and Spears memorabilia. Pepsi advertised throughout Yahoo and sent an e-mail blast to one million-plus people. Tribal DDB, New York City, handled. “There is power in engaging people online,” says John Vail, Pepsi’s director of digital media and marketing. “This zoned in on that and celebrated our history in advertising.”

Confectioner Perfetti Van Melle USA, Erlanger, KY, is celebrating Mentos candy’s 10th birthday with its first U.S. promotion since 1999. The Mentos Moment Sweepstakes breaks this month, asking consumers to provide their own Mentos Moments through photos, poems, or essays. The winner will be selected in April and receive a year’s supply of candy and a starring gig in a future TV spot. Dan Pinger Public Relations, Cincinnati, handles.

Atlanta-based Russell Corp.’s athletic apparel unit will tie into Walt Disney PicturesThe Rookie both inside and outside the theater. The March 29 release features actors (including star Dennis Quaid) wearing Russell baseball uniforms. A sweeps at and offers the chance to throw the first pitch at a Major League Baseball game, trips to fantasy baseball camp, and free product. Also, shoppers who buy at least $20 worth of Russell products at participating retailers receive free tickets to the film, according to Trish Martin, the company’s vp-retail marketing. Print ads support. Russell handled in-house, with an assist on the sweeps from QLM Marketing, Princeton, NJ.

Glendale, CA-based Nestlé USA’s Carnation Hot Cocoa is milking its role as U.S. Olympic ski team sponsor with a Sweet Sips on the Slopes sweepstakes and sampling events at ski resorts in three states. (No, we weren’t able to read that sentence out loud, either.) Through May 15, consumers can enter through forms found in-pack or online at The top prize is a family ski vacation; 75 first-prize winners score a pair of Motorola TalkAbout radios; 100 second-place winners receive a year’s supply of cocoa. Meanwhile, Nestlé pitches sampling tents at resorts in California, Colorado, and Oregon through next month and touts its Olympics ties with red, white, and blue product in Marshmallow Madness cocoa mix.

New Rochelle, NY-based Sidney Frank Importing lets Jägermeister headline its very own concert in a seven-week, 30-market tour launching March 8. Produced by Clear Channel Entertainment, New York City, the tour features hard-rock bands Drowning Pool, Coal Chamber, and Ill Nino, along with local opening acts. Brand reps will hand out CD samplers, T-shirts, and shot glasses at concerts while a sweeps giving away a trip to the Las Vegas gig runs at and Albany, NY-based FYE music stores (in tour markets). An off-premise overlay hands out T-shirts with purchase. Radio spots support. “We sponsor more than 114 bands,” says brand promotion manager Rick Zeiler. “Branding our own tour was the next logical step.”

Hormel Foods, Austin, MN, this year for the first time added a mobile sampling tour to its annual SkiWatch radio campaign for Hormel Chili, which has been running for 12 years. Two SUVs tour the coasts from mid-February through April, stopping at supermarkets and ski resorts to sample as the daily ski-condition radio reports run in 45 markets. A sweeps overlay awards ski trips to Aspen and a Jeep Liberty: There’s one trip winner per market via radio station tie-ins, five delivered through the sampling crews, and one awarded at All winners get a key, with only one capable of starting the car. CRN International, Hamden, CT, handles.

Madison, WI-based Oscar Mayer Corp. is in the first stage of a new School House Jam program that will award $10,000 for music education to one school in each state. Through a partnership with Reston, VA-based National Association for Music Education’s national conference, K-5 music teachers around the U.S. are being encouraged to submit videos of their school chorus singing one of three Oscar Mayer jingles (the two English standards and a Spanish tune) by April 1. A panel of judges will select the winners mid-month, after which the company will roll out its eight Weinermobiles to visit schools to present the checks and host parties. One grand-prize-winning chorus will sing in a TV spot next fall. 141 Communicator, Chicago, handles. (And if you don’t know Oscar Mayer’s two standards, call 203-358-4226 and we’ll sing them for you.)

Nintendo of America, Redmond, WA, heads down to Cancun, Mexico, this month with a Spring Break trip for Game Cube and GameBoy Advance. Staffers will demonstrate the gaming systems (once again with jumpsuits carrying tethered game systems) and hold events. Big Fat Inc., New York City, handles.

New York City-based cosmetics giant Chanel, Inc. and Seventeen magazine last month broke their fifth New Model of the Year contest. Through the end of March, girls 13 to 21 submit photos and related body information (height, weight, shoe size) at Macy’s Chanel counters, through entry forms in Seventeen, or at Fifty finalists win T-shirts and perfume. Eight winners travel to New York City for a fashion show, photo shoot, and makeovers. One grand-prize winner scores a trip to Paris, $1,000 in cash, and five shoots for the magazine.


Los Angeles-based Sony Pictures Entertainment brings the much-anticipated Spider-Man to theaters May 3 along with a web of tie-in partners.

Plano, TX-based Dr Pepper/Seven-Up’s multi-tiered program includes distribution of six collectable cans, a mail-in offer for a T-shirt with 12 proofs of purchase, and an on-pack sweeps dangling invites to a party in New York City. P-O-P displays and print ads support, along with a 30-second TV spot breaking mid-April. “This is going to be huge,” says sales promotions director Jeff Porter. Square One, Dallas, handles promos and print ads, Chicago-based Young & Rubicam TV and radio spots.

Hershey, PA-based Hershey Foods will host a mail-in premium offer for posters, with packaging, P-O-P displays, and an FSI supporting. Canton, MA-based Reebok International contributes print ads with Spidey sporting sneakers, and Kellogg USA, Battle Creek, MI, will offer a special cereal SKU and activity in the snack and frozen-food aisles. Bentonville, AR-based Wal-Mart and Atlanta-based Cingular are also on the bandwagon.

Activity at St. Louis-based CKE‘s Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants (which jumped in after original QSR partner Taco Bell backed out) kicks off April 15 with a six-week kids’ meal premium offer, collectable cup giveaways, and an SLO for 99-cent antenna-toppers in 3,500 outlets. TV and radio spots support. CDM, Newport Beach, CA, handles.


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