Mars is launching a mini version of M&M’s to raise the sweet’s profile in the UK chocolate market.
The company is keen to repeat the success of M&M’s in the US, where the brand leads the sector.
Mini M&M’s – to go on sale early next year – will be packaged in refillable tubes and 200g bags.
M&M’s is worth £1.3bn globally; £30m in the UK.
Mars has reported a 40 per cent increase in UK sales of the brand in the past five years.
The company is putting £3.5m into “Find red” – an on-pack promotion offering cash prizes of up to £100,000, to be backed by TV advertising in the New Year.
Mars will introduce M&M’s merchandise, including leisure wear, gifts and ceramics, to UK department stores next year (MW November 25).
One industry insider comments: “Mars feel M&M’s is underperforming in the UK and it hopes to raise its profile with these spin-offs.”
But another source says: “Mars is trying to make M&M’s number one in bagged sweets, but I don’t think it can do it. Smarties is the top bagged sweets brand in the UK, and it’s a children’s brand. M&M’s is number one in the US, but it’s an adult brand.
Mars declined to comment as Marketing Week went to press.