The myth has been around since the 1970’s, but the folks at the Mars Company are finally taking advantage of the myth about the supposed aphrodisiac-like nature of their Green M&M’s. According to this article at Drew’s Marketing Minute, Mars Company is releasing special pacakges containing nothing but Green M&Ms with the tagline “Green – The Color of Love” for the Valentine’s Season. As the article notes, “[t]he folks at The Mars Company didn’t start that myth, [b]ut, now they’ve demonstrated that they’re smart enough to take advantage of it.”
What this tells us is that the preconceptions of our customers, even if they are untrue, can be used to further market to them. Using this example, if people want to believe that Green M&Ms make people more amorous, then why not market them for Valentine’s Day, a holiday built around the concept of romance? Moreover, it represents a follow up on M&M’s already existing “green M&M” brand. Mars has already used the Green M&M character in its advertising. Represented as a female with a smoky voice and flirty ways, the Green M&M brand has already been introduced. This campaign is simply a logical extension of the character.
As I’ve noted previously here and here, the essential purpose of creating a brand is to establish an image in the mind of consumers. Branding acts to take certain positive elements and tie them to your company by associating those positive elements to your company. As the example with the Green M&Ms shows, if you do it right you can build a brand not out of what you actually do, but rather out of what your customers think you can do.