Christmas Taking Shape With Mars

Offering new products, merchandising displays, graphics

Mars candy (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores)

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. --Chocolate plays a key role during the holidays, according to Mars Chocolate North America.

Shapes continue to dominate seasonal candy sales due to versatility across usage occasions. Sales of the shapes category rose 13.1% last season, the company said, citing IRI data, with 76% of consumers purchasing seasonally wrapped or shaped chocolate, according to Beacon Data.

Value and variety round out consumers' wish lists, and Mars satisfies by offering seasonal items at a range of sizes and price points, starting under $1.

In 2014, Mars brands is offering new merchandising displays and graphics. Lower case counts, graphics sporting larger logos and vibrant green cases with candy cane stripes make bold statements on in-store displays. This improves brand recognition and shopability for consumers and enables retailers to capture more impulse purchases, said the company.

Mars is supporting Christmas 2014 with a robust marketing program. Mars will reach more consumers with more touch points over a longer period of time, it said. The program features six weeks of dedicated television, print, digital and Hispanic advertising, festive in-store displays and national freestanding inserts (FSIs). Consumers also can look forward to the continuation of the famous "Faint" TV advertisement that was recently ranked "The Best Holiday Ad of All Time" by Forbes magazine.

New items include:

  • Twix Brand Gingerbread. Twix Brand marks the holiday with a hallmark flavor of the season. Twix Brand Gingerbread delivers the cookie crunch and milk chocolate with creamy gingerbread-flavored caramel. In consumer testing, this new item was top ranked and beat benchmarks in purchase intent, liking and uniqueness, according to iCommunity Concept Screen results. Suggested retail price (SRP) is $3.49 to $3.79; package weight is 10 ounces; shipping is in a 12-count case, 24-count display case.
  • M&M's Brand Milk Chocolate Candies Storybook. For gifting or as a stocking stuffer, this new item features the M&M's Characters in a storybook with puzzles, and it is filled with M&M's Brand Milk Chocolate Candies. SRP is $2.99; package weight is 4 ounces; shipping is in a 12-count case.
  • Mixed Shapes Miniwings. Miniwing displays, which can be hung anywhere in the store and take up minimal counter space, showcase three brands: Snickers Brand Miniwing loaded with Snickers Brand Nutcracker Singles and Snickers Brand Singles Bars; Twix Brand Miniwing with Twix Brand Santa Singles and TWIX Brand Singles Bars; and Milky Way Brand Miniwing with Milky Way Simply Caramel Snowman Singles and Milky Way Brand Singles Bars. SRP is 79 cents to 99 cents; package weight is1.06 to 1.86 ounces; shippi ng is in a 180-count case.

Mars Chocolate North America, Hackettstown, N.J., is the North American chocolate operations of Mars Inc. McLean, Va.-based Mars has net sales of more than $33 billion, six business segments including Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Petcare and Symbioscience. Mars brands include chocolate: M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way And Twix; Wrigley: Doublemint, Extra, Orbit and 5 Chewing Gums, Skittles and Starburst candies and Altoids and Lifesavers mints; Food: Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods, Seeds of Change and Royco; Drinks: Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia; Petcare: Pedigree, Royal Canin, Whiskas, Kitekat, Banfield Pet Hospital and Nutro; Symbioscience: Cocoavia and Wisdom Panel.