Mars has joined forces with UK toy maker Hasbro to launch a range of merchandise bearing its M&M’s and Skittles brands.
Hasbro has created peanut and mini M&M’s Candy Hander dispensers featuring the red, yellow and blue chocolate bean brand characters.
Electronic M&M’s Power Candy Handers and Mini M&M’s soft toys will be on sale. Battery-powered Skittles dispensers, featuring Warner Bros characters Bugs Bunny and Taz, are also being rolled out.
Hasbro is in talks with toy stores and supermarkets to stock the products before the end of August. Iceland will be the first multiple to roll out the Mini M&M’s toys.
Hasbro already markets a number of Cap Candy dispensers, featuring characters such as Winnie The Pooh, Mickey Mouse and PokÃ©mon.
Hasbro group brand manager Jonathan Kirkley says: “The toys target everyone from children to office workers.
“The Mars partnership will enable Hasbro to build on the success that Cap Candy has achieved in the confectionery sector.”
Kirkley says Hasbro and Mars are discussing joint in-store marketing opportunities for the merchandise.
Mars is also planning to roll out a range of M&M’s branded sportswear and leisurewear, as well as gifts, mugs and cereal bowls (MW November 25 1999).
The confectionery giant has brought in licensing agents Copyright Promotions Licensing Group to sign up retailers and manufacturers.
No one at Mars was available for comment. It is not known whether Skittles will feature in any other brand extensions.