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M&M Brand PromiseI was traveling the past couple weeks and wanted to send a small token of appreciation to one of the friends I stayed with.  I know the family likes M&Ms, so I decided to order from there.  When I clicked on the ordering page, the message I received is pictured here.

Impressive.  Here’s a beloved brand of delicious chocolates and before you can complete the online transaction, they want to ensure that you are old enough to do so.

According to their website: being a manufacturer of some of the world’s best loved chocolate, confectionery, chewing gum and food brands comes with a responsibility to market them in appropriate ways, especially to children and when using digital marketing channels.

The Mars brands made a commitment back in 2007 to stop direct marketing to children under 12.  Included in their marketing code guidelines are:

  • We do not buy advertising time or space if more than a quarter of the audience is likely to be under 12 and we do not advertise on websites aimed at those under 13.
  • Visitors to most of our web pages have to enter their birth date before downloading branded wallpapers or screensavers or participating in activities.
  • Our advertisements and promotions never depict unaccompanied children under 12 eating snack foods, nor do we use them as spokespeople for our brands.

The code also states that Mars does not place vending machines offering its snack food products in primary schools and does not offer Mars-branded educational materials or sponsor sporting events at primary schools, except in connection with established educational or public service messaging programs on responsible gum disposal and oral health care, or upon the request of schools.

I know there are lots of brands out there with similar programs (alcohol and cigarettes, for example). I applaud the effort to consider the impact of your marketing programs on the intended target.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

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