APRIL FOOL'S DAY by Starcom Shanghai for M&M's

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APRIL FOOL'S DAY

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Industry Candies
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market China
Agency Starcom Shanghai
Released May 2013

Credits & Description

Advertiser: MARS
Agency: STARCOM
Category: Fast Moving Consumer Goods
Advertising campaign: APRIL FOOL'S DAY
Assistant Planning Director: Sky Wang (Starcom MediaVest Group)
Assistant Marketing Manager - M&M's: Fiona Chi (Mars China)
Business Director: Joe Zhao (Starcom MediaVest Group)
Senior Marketing Manager - M&M's: Jelina Wan (Mars China)

Strategy
M&M’s is an irresistible and wildly popular chocolate! But not in china - not yet.Chocolate is a more expensive and less traditional snack food than alternatives like seeds and nuts. The challenge to promote M&M’s was a cultural one. But with the youth of China adopting more Western customs and holidays, we saw an opportunity to make M&M’s part of those rituals. The irreverence of April Fool’s Day, in particular, was the perfect platform for M&M’s, and the brand’s fun, light-hearted, cheeky spokescandies, Red and Yellow - currently used in M&M’s Chinese marketing.The team decided to create an April Fool’s Day experience starring Red and Yellow on Renren, the top social-networking site among Chinese high school and college students. M&M’s gave people a chance to play an April Fool’s trick on their Renren friends — just for fun.

Effectiveness
The opportunity to play an April Fool’s joke with Red and Yellow proved irresistible — in just two weeks, some 3.7 million people participated in the campaign, with 2.6 million Renren users playing tricks on friends. Participation was four times what was expected, based on Renren’s average. M&M’s effort reached 90% of Renrenusers, seven times more than the network’s average campaign. A search on Baidu (China’s top search engine) showed people chatting and posting news about the campaign on 320,000 different websites, blogs or news sites. Red and Yellow — and M&M’s —were the kings of April Fool’s Day!

Execution
We developed a social application that allowed Renren users to prank their friends. The application was announced in a Renren ad, allowing users to choose one of six possible tricks that disrupted a friend’s Renren profile with an interactive M&M’s experience. Red and Yellow literally burst through the tricked user’s profile page or became the tricked user’s profile photo. The trickster might post a prank message as a status update. Or it might feature Red or Yellow 'shooting' the page using an M&M’s chocolate blaster. News of the trick also was posted automatically to the user’s status updates so that all friends could share in the fun. In a final twist, randomly selected pranksters found themselves tricked as well. Red and Yellow became part of the fabric of Renren users’ friendships.