As promised in yesterday’s post, today I’m marking the United States Presidential Election by covering M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote promotion. Make the jump to check it out!
In the Spring of 2016 Mars released not one, but three brand new special edition peanut flavor M&M’s to consumers; Honey Nut, Coffee Nut and Chili Nut. It was a pretty big deal considering the none of the three flavors had ever been released before.
The idea behind the promotion and concurrent release was to allow folks to try all three and then vote for which one they’d like to see stick around. Because while the flavor with the most votes would become an all-year-round offering, the other two would only last a few months. So it went in the vein of so many of our contemporary singing and dancing competition shows, the flavor with the most votes would stick around while the others would go home. It was a pretty novel concept for a promotion and a great way to introduce several new M&M’s flavor extensions.
Jumping back to 2015, months before releasing the new M&M’s Peanut flavors to retail and thus to consumers, some early sales sample packs were sent out to various media and candy industry folks. These packages had significantly different packaging artwork and design so I thought I would lead with those since most people probably haven’t see them. Here are the advance sample packs:
I love being able to showcase and share rarely seen items like those sales sample packs as they can show insight into how the marketing and branding was shaped in the months leading up to the product’s release. For me it’s truly fascinating stuff.
Finally, the new M&M’s Peanut flavors starting showing up in stores in May of 2016. I first came across them late that same month.
This next photo shows how busy it was for M&M’s releases earlier this year, as you can see the 75th Anniversary M&M’s assortment on-sale at the same time as the Vote packs. I was buying a lot of M&M’s during this period. It was really fun!
Here’s a look at the three different standard-size retail packs of the New Peanut Flavor Vote release – note how different they are than the advance sample packs:
Beyond the 1.74 oz packs, the specialty Vote Peanut Flavors were also sold in larger 10 oz bags:
Here’s an in-store coupon featuring the Peanut Flavor Vote packs that I found attached to a retail dump at the time:
I paid particular attention to this coupon as it included a graphic of a standard M&M’s Peanut pack with the “Vote” graphic call-out on it.
For a time, I wondered if such a pack existed but after some research, I found no evidence that it was ever produced. Likely it was created and included only on that coupon.
For those wondering, I did sample all three of the Peanut Vote flavors, and did so quite a bit. I found the Chili Nut flavor to be the boldest and most unusual of the three and for that I was quite enamored with it. Even so, I wondered whether such a spicy M&M’s flavor could sustain or for that matter be enjoyed regularly. For fans of coffee-flavored confections, the Coffee Nut was a hit (I’ve never been a fan of coffee-flavored candy myself, but I could appreciate it).
Finally, I found the Honey Nut to be the most easily palatable variation on the standard M&M’s Peanut. For that reason, and due to my finding the Honey Nut quickly sold out at locations I visited, I assumed that it would be the clear winner of the M&M’s Peanut Flavor election. But my informal retail polling was wrong and I was mistaken.
When the winner was finally announced, it turned out that M&M’s Coffee Nut had received the most votes. And so far, it has been brought back to stores in the 10 oz packs as well as a 3.27 oz Sharing Size – both featuring a “Winning Flavor” design:
It should be noted that on the Winning Flavor packs, the back of the package highlights the brand of coffee flavor used in the product:
A quick Google search shows Alterra Coffee as a Mars-owned brand which makes sense.
So it would appear that M&M’s Coffee Nut will be with us for the foreseeable future, and that’s a pretty cool thing.
I do wonder if or when we might see Chili Nut and Honey Nut flavors revisited? I think they were worthwhile extensions that could benefit from another limited edition run at some point in the years to come.
The journey from early sales sample to all-year-round product gave us three distinct M&M’s Coffee Nut packages to appreciate. Here they are for comparison from first to last:
Fun stuff, and that is everything I’ve got to share on M&M’s 2016 New Peanut Flavor Vote promotion!
With today being Election Day, I’ll be heading into the polls first thing this morning. Looking beyond all of the understandable cynicism and exhaustion that comes with a long and challenging campaign season, I think it’s important to try to look for the positives. It remains a privilege to be able to take part in the democratic process and while it undoubtedly is flawed and troublesome, it is something I think we can and should still take inspiration from. Power to the people and all that.
See you next time!