Thursday, June 6, 2013

M&Ms ads - the 90s

A few weeks ago I posted a long and involved post talking about some of the evolution of M&M advertising on television. I encourage you to go read that post first. It was really fun writing the post since I got to parse through a ton of my favorite old M&M ads. Today I thought I'd follow up with the next part of the story and have a look at the more modern M&M ads of the 90s.

M&Ms themselves are really fascinating, and the ads have gone through a lot of changes over the years. But the 90s are characterized by some really dense advertizing. The M&Ms were becoming legitimate stars in their own right, and the advertizing and products went in a number of interesting directions. When last we left off the year was 1992 and M&M had just celebrated their 50th anniversary, and introduced both Peanut Butter and Almond varieties. And just to note the ads I'm really talking about here are all centered around the M&Ms characters, not the commercials with just humans :)

As I said, M&Ms were so popular now that they really seem to have had multiple ad campaigns running concurrently. In some cases you could still find old 80s style M&M commercials featuring M&Ms in pure cartoon settings.

But M&Ms also in the late 80s into the early 90s created a lot of commercials without their mascots entirely. I'm not sure if these were meant to appeal more to adults since they obviously at some point realized the true value of the mascots and basically stopped doing commercials without them, but its interesting nonetheless.

Additionally they made the big transition around this era. It was becoming more and more common to see the M&Ms interacting with real humans. And often not just any humans but celebrities.

That's Daisy Fuentes, model and MTV VJ.

And the incomparable Robert Pastorelli of Murphy Brown fame.

Also since I forgot to mention it earlier M&Ms started featuring Christmas and Easter seasonal bags in 1986. They had pastel colored seasonal M&Ms for Easter-time, and red and green for Xmas.




Here's my absolute favorite Christmas one :)

Probably the next big innovation to M&Ms came in 1995 when they ran a campaign to vote on the next new color of M&M to be introduced.

The vote was actually to replace the tan colored M&Ms which were being discontinued. As you can see from the funny ads below featuring Wings star Steven Weber and the M&Ms the winner was a new favorite of mine, Blue.

And here's another funny one.

Interesting as far as I can tell Blue was not as of yet associated with a specific flavor, unless it was Almond. Its hard to determine exactly when that happened.Currently all of the different M&M colors are associated with certain flavors, but I don't think that was always the case.

Moving on though, in 1996 M&Ms decided to branch out again, this time with M&M minis.

These little guys have been giving Red and yellow a hard time ever since.Its funny, the Minis are kind of like a cross between a swarm of kiler bees and a crazed Looney Tunes character.

Here's a great example of the kind of pranks the Minis pull.

And I know this is skipping ahead a bit but I love these Mini commercials from the early 2000s as well and they fit into this same category :)

Yeah, of course Red rides the bus.

I LOVE this one. Talk about Looney Tunes!

And of course this is a great example of Red and Yellow just getting tossed around. Pretty typical stuff for the era.

Now it gets a bit tricky around this part but by the late 90s both Ms Green and Orange had also been established as M&M personalities. Unlike Blue these were soft and ongoing changes to character since both colors had been around for quite a while.

Starting with Green, lets have a look at some of her early appearances. She is of course the first woman M&M and they really played up the sexy angle. I mean A LOT.

She's also always had a real air of celebrity to her.

Was that inappropriate? I'm honestly not sure how to take it. Now I know this one is from much more recently, but how about this...

And then of course there's this one final one, my personal favorite.

Now that's pretty funny.

When Green was introduced she was associated loosely with Dark Chocolate, but now she reps for Peanut Butter, Mint, and Coconut. Although with that I have to wonder why Orange isn't on Peanut Butter anymore?

Orange on the other hand is the neurotic part of the M&M gang. He got a personality pretty early on but it wasn't until the introduction of Crispy M&Ms in 1999 that he found a calling and got his own full ad campaign. Here's a great ad with Orange and Halle Berry.


Love it. This guys always cracked me up and I wish they would've found more for him to do in those early days. While I liked Crispy M&Ms (they were discontinued Stateside in 2005) after the initial burst there wasn't much advertizing support for them. And so it wasn't until Pretzel M&Ms came along much later that Orange got a chance to shine again. For now though lets look at a few more ads featuring Orange from the late 90s.

Talk about neurotic.

That's another really fun one. And finally lets have one with your friend and mine Patrick Warburton.

Oh Puddy...

As the M&Ms launched into the 2000s they were of course the official spokescandy of the  Millenium. And yes they may have been a bit early on it...

And what do the M&Ms get paid anyhow?

Oh Red and Yellow... you really can't help but love these guys. By this point they've fully developed the Laurel and Hardy routine and are just riffing some great jokes.

And once the M&Ms got into the new Millennium properly things got even bigger for them. While other companies like MacDonalds the cereal companies had tougher and tougher times selling the public on their cutesy characters, M&Ms simply didn't. Their focus on fun, and funny irreverant evolving humor made them stand out and become even bigger stars that any reasonable person would've thought possible. These guys are up there with the biggest spokespeople in the world, and its great to see how they continue to work in a modern setting.

Next time we'll delve into the M&Ms megastardom of the 2000s. Until then, lets not forget how great the candy actually is. Great candy and some stellar advertizing. Its certainly a winning combination.

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