M&M Goes Viral, Online and Off

by Douglas Quenqua

In its seemingly never-ending quest to make sentient beings out of snack foods, Mars has unveiled a new viral effort that allows people to upload photos of themselves on M&Ms, both real and digital.

Visitors to TheCandyLab.com can upload photos of themselves or friends onto a singing M&M and share their creation by e-mail. The anthropomorphic candy can sing one of two songs, I Want Candy (for obvious reasons) or You Blinded Me With Science (a reference to the site’s mad scientist theme).

But the effort extends offline as well. Users can order the candies with their faces on it for real, just in time for Halloween. Executives who worked on the effort claim it’s the first time the product of a viral media effort can be purchased and shared offline. Maybe true, and thankfully so when you consider the real-life implications of Monk-e Mail or (shudder) The Subservient Chicken.

The avatar technology was created by Oddcast, and the site itself was built by digital agency IMC2.

A word of warning: I visited the site several times over the past couple days, and every time it slowed my computer’s performance down to a crawl. Granted my desktop is older than most of The Jonas Brothers, but this is M&Ms were talking about, your grandma’s favorite non-butterscotch candy. One assumes early adopters are not the target demographic. A word of advice: Tone down the graphics.

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