Picture This...


Last week, I wrote about Heinz's "all-red" puzzle execution and explained why I didn't think it was good marketing.


This week I'm going to share an example of another creative idea that I believe is much, much better.


While I personally don't like colouring, I love this "Help Us Colour" execution from M&Ms.


It's a simple idea: you click the link to be taken to the website, enter your birthday (presumably because minors must have their parent or guardian’s permission to participate in the contest portion of the initiative), choose your colouring tool of choice, choose your desired colour from an online palette, and then start colouring the M&M-themed page that appears.


It likely won't get as many earned impressions or win as many industry awards as the Heinz all-red-puzzle execution.


But it should.


Because while the M&M's initiative is another initiative that provides a way to pass the time while in quarantine, there's no question as to which brand put this colouring challenge together: it is undeniably M&Ms.


It's fun -- like the M&M characters themselves -- and you have no choice but to think about the brand while you're engaging with the scenes you're asked to colour. It's directly associating the M&M brand with fun, and that helps to build brand love.


It's an idea that's accessible to everyone with a device and an internet connection. To engage with the brand, you don't need to have won a puzzle in a contest against very unfavourable odds, you just need to have discovered the link to their site. (I'd like to think I'm helping with that by sharing it.)


And to top it all off, M&M gives you the chance of having your masterpiece be featured in an actual TV commercial! (Well, if you live in the US, anyway; Canadians can't participate in the contest, which is really the only part I don't like about this campaign.) According to MarketingDive, "consumers can colour pages in the digital M&M's Coloring Book, with each page corresponding to a frame of the upcoming TV commercial. The spot that will air in June will merge many of these creations for a message about togetherness." That's pretty exciting for a kid, and a much better use of a contest mechanism than simply the chance to win a puzzle.


I accused the Heinz initiative of being a stunt. Is this any different? Arguably, it isn't. But "the website, leading to the colouring activity, leading to the contest entry, leading to a follow-up television commercial" feels far more integrated than the "contest to give away 57 puzzles leading to... nope, that's it."


Of course, time will tell if this initiative leads to greater M&M sales.


But I'm already feeling more brand love for M&Ms.


Marketing doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the best marketing rarely is.


- dp