During the Halloween season M&M’S Chocolate Candies practically sell themselves; no pomp and circumstance needed. However, in 2015, the M&M’S brand team issued a challenge – generate positive, quality media coverage during the most crowded candy-buying season of the year. After researching competitor coverage for the preceding two years, there was one area M&M’S could own and that was good purpose and social change. I came up with an idea that even my leadership thought was crazy. "No way the clients will go for it," they said. But the clients did and in a big way. 

The insight? 

From finding the full-size-candy house on the block to scaring the pants off your neighbors, Halloween is all about being a kid. However, for some, Halloween isn’t a moment of celebration but a missed opportunity to have a scary good time. In 2015, M&M’S set out to change that by bringing a colorful Halloween to a hard-luck community that could really use some fun.

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The story we wanted to tell wasn't just about candy but that fun makes you happy and happiness is contagious. Just think what would happen if we spread fun? It improves your mood. It brightens your day, It’s plentiful and accessible to everyone. Fun makes the world a better place and it's locked inside all of us. For two days we wanted to give the children of Newark, NJ - a city in recovery - the opportunity to let their fun out. 

Fun for M&M'S that Halloween meant not paying a dime for costumes or candy at the brand’s first-ever Halloween pop-up store and enjoying a safe event for the entire family at the Family Fun Zone.  We got the word out by partnering with Grammy-award winning singer Kelly Rowland and invited media to come see first-hand how we had transformed an abandoned storefront into a one-stop-Halloween-shop for the residents of Newark. In the end, we generated 121.9MM traditional media impressions, 15.9MM earned social impressions and reached 4.9MM people via our owned channels. 

o121.9 MM traditional media impressions
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In just 48 hours, the M&M’S team greeted more than 10,000 Newark residents, and distributed 12,000 costumes and approx. 65,000 bags of Mars Chocolate candies. Nearly 2,000 residents attended the Family Fun Zone at the JFK Rec Center, including 12 NJ Officials including Newark Mayor, Ras Baraka and State Senator Teresa Ruiz. A surprise performance from rapper Silentó got the crowd pumped. But we didn’t do it alone. It truly took a village, complete with support from the City of Newark, The United Way, and a plethora of local and national public officials, including Senator Corey Booker. 

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Fans and event attendees took to Twitter and Facebook to share their excitement over M&M’S bringing Halloween to Newark. Fans shared photos and extended their gratitude for the Halloween fun.