Q&A: What’s a Fun Fact You Know About Advertising?
Mars, the candy company not the planet, wanted nothing to do with E.T. (the Extra-Terrestrial).
They refused to allow the movie producers to use M&Ms in the film (reportedly because they thought the titular creature was “too ugly” to represent their product). As a result, the movie makers were forced to swap the candy-coated chocolates for Reese’s pieces in the scene where E.T.’s human friend, Elliot, lures him from his bedroom.
Hershey, the makers of Reese’s Pieces, inked a deal with E.T.’s producers, promising to promote E.T. with $1 million in advertising in exchange for the permission to use E.T.’s image in their own ads.
Prior to the movie’s release, Reese’s Pieces weren’t wildly popular, but within the first two weeks of the film’s debut, the sale of Reese’s Pieces skyrocketed. Although reports on the exact increase vary, even the most conservative estimate shows a 65% jump.
A candy that was at one time at risk of being discontinued is now one of the most popular candies, especially around Halloween. The bigwigs at Mars were probably kicking themselves for years for letting this opportunity go to their competitors.