The New Purple M&M Wants Everyone to Feel Like They Belong
In the candy world, themes of inclusivity and belonging have been Skittles' bag for some time, with the Mars Wrigley brand crafting lauded, socially aware messages for more than a decade.
Of late, however, M&M's, also owned by Mars, has explored similar shelf-space. As 2022 began, amid much fanfare and occasional controversy, M&M's recast its beloved candy spokes-characters with nods toward modern ideas of equality, gender roles and identity.
Now, the brand expands on such themes with the introduction of Purple, its first new character in a decade, who introduces herself today in "I'm Just Gonna Be Me," a Broadway-style musical number from BBDO New York:
"The M&M's cast holds an iconic place in culture, and in order to continue reflecting the world around us, it felt right to introduce a character whose personality is grounded in authenticity and realness and who isn't afraid to show her true colors," BBDO North America chief creative officer Luiz Sanches tells Muse.
Purple's presentation owes a debt to classic Sesame Street, with its happy tune and good-natured silliness selling a more serious, universal theme.
Props to singer, TV host and best-selling author Amber Ruffin, whose fun vocal performance really shines. Skittles pitches powerful DEI parables to teens and adults. But Purple should click with a younger audience, thanks to Ruffin's effervescent take on believing in yourself, despite occasionally feeling "unsure" and "awkward."
The notion of being one's best, true self feels in step with the brand's audience, not to mention the times. Plus, it's good advice in general, and the work makes its point in a way that feels relatable without overreaching.
M&M's is putting its candy where its mouth is, too, donating $1 for each stream of "I'm Just Gonna Be Me" to nonprofit Sing for Hope, which strives to create programs that bring "healing and connection to millions of people worldwide." The song is available on Spotify, Apple Music and other major platforms, and M&M's will contribute up to $500,000.
Of course, the brand has long leveraged music in its marketing, ranging from oldies like "Candyman" and "Bite-Size Beats" to its more recent art packs spoofing classic album covers.
CAMPAIGN TITLE: PURPLE - "I'M JUST GONNA BE ME"
Creative Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, North America: Luiz Sanches
Executive Creative Director: Tim Bayne
Creative Director: Jenn Tranbarger
Creative Director: Jess Rello
Associate Creative Director: Talon Gustafson
Associate Creative Director: Brian Pinkley
Art Director: Maya Iwata
Copywriter: Benner Rawley
VP, Group Executive Producer: Kim Clarke
Executive Producer: Maria Real
SVP, Executive Director of Music: Daniel Kuypers
Senior Music Producer: Julia Millison
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Shelly Bloch
CEO & President: Kirsten Flanik
EVP, Global Account Leader, Mars Inc: Susannah Keller
EVP, Senior Director: Ashley Gill
VP, Account Director: Grace Hargrave-Thomas
Account Manager: Sarah Cerbone
EVP, Group Planning Director: Yin Chung
Planning Director: Dexter Blumenthal
Group Director, Connections Planning: Enda Conway
VP, Group Director of Marketing Science: Derek Zimmerman
SVP, Project Management Director: Mark Lester
VP, Global Deployment Director: Kelly Donahue
Global Deployment Supervisor: Christina Albert
Global Deployment Manager: Nick Lau
Production Company: Imposter
Executive Producer: Avtar Khalsa
HOP: Todd Ruhnau
Staff Producer: Alex Brinkman
Director: Malia James
Producer: Fernando Morillo
Production Manager: Eleo Cuadra
Production Coordinator: Jack Ireland
Editorial Company: PS 260
Editor: Ashley Ingbretson
Executive Producer: Laura Patterson
Producer: Ingrid Nunn
Assistant Editor: Laura Murphy
Motion Graphics Artist: Golpar Jalali
Motion Graphics Producer: Natalie Raffael
VFX/Animation Company: House Special
VFX Director: Kirk Kelly
Producer: Joelle Spencer Gilchrist
Production Liaison: Alix Iverson
HOP/COO: Al Cubillas
Music Company: Walker
Executive Producer: Sara Matarazzo
Senior Producer: Neha Ewell
Senior Producer: Dottie Scharr
Associate Producer: Samantha Zirin
Chief Engineer: Chris Nungary
Composers: Clark Baxtresser & Esther Fallick
Mix: Sound Lounge
Mixer: Tom Jucarone
Senior Producer: Dana Villarreal