Mars-owned M&M’s will begin running online pre-roll ads today, following its 30-second Super Bowl spot, “Human,” that features actor Danny DeVito, according to Ad Age.
The 6-second and 15-second spots, titled “M&M’s Again,” continue the story arc where the red M&M’s “spokescandy” complains about people trying to eat him and makes a wish on a penny to become human. The wish comes true and the red character takes the human form of DeVito. In the pre-roll ads, DeVito turns back into a candy, but then — spoiler alert — gets stepped on.
Along with the full Super Bowl spot and the pre-roll ads, the candy brand has released multiple teasers for the campaign by BBDO New York. In December, it announced that it would return as a Super Bowl advertiser after a three year hiatus. M&M’s released a 30-second teaser to run ahead of the Critics’ Choice Awards on Jan. 11 showing film critics reacting to the ad. Later in January, M&M’s teased the campaign by showing 15 seconds of DeVito floating in a pool of chocolate to drive excitement around the full Super Bowl spot.
M&M’s may be a perfect candidate for the super-short video format for social media. The recognizable candy brand with strong visual imagery has the ability to deliver messages in short spurts, making the content more easily digestible for consumers. The brand hopes to score with the 6- and 15-second spots, as the pre-roll ads immediately follow a heavily teased social media campaign and one of the most talked about live TV ad events of the year last weekend.
More marketers are realizing the power of short videos less than 10 seconds as a way to reach younger audiences. Millennials’ attention spans for ads is only 5 to 6 seconds, a comScore study found, so these quick pre-roll ads have the change to successfully hold their attention. One way brands are seeing success with the format is by creating and retargeting multiple short videos to reach consumers who previously interacted with a longer campaign, signaling their interest in the ad’s subject matter. Last year, Yoplait saw a 1,461% boost in brand interest following a campaign with a 60-second TV and online spot and 32 six-second video ads customized based on online behavior.
After taking the past three years off, the candy brand seemed to embrace the “go big or go home” strategy for Super Bowl LII. Along with the TV and super-short video spots, the candy brand set up a Twitter-activated vending machine in Minneapolis ahead of the game, where visitors could view the brand’s commercial and sample candies. Twitter-activated vending machines generally ask consumers to tweet with a specific handle and hashtag in exchange for a product.
The in-person Twitter activation and multiple campaign videos is giving M&M’s quite some social media boost. Building high levels of momentum before the game and following it up with a post-game push will likely help the candy brand get the most out of its $5 million Super Bowl ad buy. Research has proven this to be a generally effective strategy, as Super Bowl advertisers see heightened sales and social media engagement in the months following the game.