Friday, June 29

The Green M&Ms Effect

Ahhhh ... the urban legend around green M&Ms.  To my knowledge, and please comment otherwise, the brand has never really addressed it, not head on anyway.  But it's an urban legend to beat most others.

So you can imagine my surprise the other day when I spied out of the corner of my little eye a package of green M&Ms.  All green.  Right on display at the checkout of a little deli here in NY.

Now what transpired is classic marketing.  I always tell people that you have to think broadly about your competition.  Here I am in line with only a few dollars of cash in my pocket with a bottle of Snapple in my hand, ready to purchase.  I see the package of green M&Ms and at the last minute I put down the Snapple and buy the green M&Ms instead.  Pow.

Now I am sure that Snapple does not think of M&Ms as competition.  But right there, at that moment, these two brands were competing against each other for my time, attention, and money.  Which is why I always tell people that you have to think broadly about who you compete against and think of all the factors that can get in the way of your consumer purchases.

But back to the green M&Ms.  I bought them, they were fantastic, and I have to say they gave me a little spring to my step.  And then once I got home, I realized that the green M&M is quite active on Twitter.  But of course.

Urban legend ... or smart competitive marketing?  What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect series
Professor, NYU

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