Sweet success for Mars

Mars Retail Group looking to 'expand and enhance' licensing programme following success at New York show.
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Following a successful showing at last month's Licensing International in New York, Mars Retail Group has revealed it is looking to expand the brand to appeal to a broader consumer audience.

Mars Snackfood US currently has seven of the top 15 chocolate brands and two of the top five sugar brands (Skittles and Starburst). M&M's are the number one selling chocolate brand in the world (according to Euromonitor), while the M&M's characters are some of the most recognised.

Snickers holds the title of America's number one candy bar, while Dove chocolate is apparently the fastest growing brand within the top ten chocolate brands (Information Resources).

Mars Retail Group has already enjoyed successful co-branding opportunities with a number of major films, including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

To appeal to a broader consumer audience, Mars Retail Group is adding new categories including sporting goods, crafting and publishing - from cook books to coffee table books. The M&M's characters will also be working with Avon from the autumn, with the Q4 catalogue including several branded items such as slippers, watches, holiday ornaments, home decor and apparel.

In addition, the company will be kicking off key promotions with several retailers in the US, including mass market, supermarket and drug channels.

The division is developing upscale gift baskets for holidays and other occasions that pair the M&M's characters with activities such as sports and cheerleading. Novelty collectables range from candy fams and dry erase message boards to a self inking stamper that comes with stickers.

"With our revamped licensing programme, Mars Retail Group is a more attractive partner for retailers, offering a variety of exciting and enticing promotional and co-branding opportunities," said Blair Ford, VP of Mars Retail Group. "We're also looking to expand and enhance our licensing programme even further, seeking out additional high quality licensing opportunities."

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