The case of the missing M&M’s spokescandy

The Mars candy brand has unleashed an effort that's tasked Canadians with searching Toronto for the AWOL M&M character using social media platforms.

He didn’t melt in your mouth, and certainly not in your hand. The red M&M’s spokescandy has gone missing and it’s up to Canadians to track him down. His disappearing act is part of a new social media campaign contest, the first such effort from the brand.

On the lam in Toronto as of Nov. 4, Canadian candy fans are being encouraged to find the wayward M&M by going online to to use a version of the Google Street View API to search out three locations in the city where he might be hiding. To help them in their sleuthing, the other M&M’s characters will be seeding clues to candy gumshoes via Twitter and the brand’s newly created Facebook page, where they can also access brand news, share M&M’s recipes and talk about the search for Red.

‘The M&M’s brand really wanted to engage consumers by getting them to connect with the personalities of our candy-coated spokescandies,’ says Meghan Jackson, M&M’s brand director, Mars Canada. ‘Our agency Proximity brought us this idea and how it would expand our consumer reach by tapping into new and emerging social technologies.’

A location-based element is also part of the social media mix. Players on Foursquare can follow Red as he checks in to various locations around the city, leaving clues as to his exact location. Furthermore, clues can also be uncovered via Stickybits, a mobile app that allows users to scan barcodes to reveal content pertaining to the relevant product that other users have previously attached to them. And, for those who want to take the search to the streets, wild postings featuring the M&M’s characters have been placed throughout Toronto, each containing a QR code, which releases a Community Clue that will aid in the case of the missing candy. There are a total of 18 different codes to be uncovered. A video housed on the website and on YouTube, as well as billboards on TV stations including W Network, Cosmo and CMT are also promoting the event.

Each person who registers online will be automatically awarded an entry into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a red Smart Fortwo coup. Additional entries will be awarded to those who are able to deduce the locations where the candy character’s holed up. Proximity developed the digital component of the ‘Find Red’ program, with Fleishman-Hillard handling PR. The effort will wrap up on Dec. 4.