Mars Inc. will use the Internet to break the largest promotion in the 61-year-old life of its M&M brand March 6.
The confectioner's Masterfoods USA subsidiary will hold an international vote on www.mms.com to decide the newest color to be included in M&M's chocolate candy.
Candy lovers can also vote through May 31 by mail, telephone or kiosks in select retail venues, the Hackettstown, NJ, company said.
Consumers in 78 countries will be able to choose from purple, aqua or pink. The Web site will offer 15 languages to respond in. The winning entry will be announced June 19 in New York. The new color will be available in August through year's end.
Voters will be able to sample each color before deciding. Specially marked packages at retailers worldwide will stock the purple, aqua and pink M&M's.
M&M's Global Color Vote is also the first global promotion in M&M's brand history, Masterfoods USA said. All participating countries will take part in a single marketing campaign that includes advertising, direct and online marketing, sponsorships, retail promotions and public relations.
Launched in 1941, M&M's were available in red, green, yellow, orange, brown and violet. Tan replaced violet in 1949. In 1995, 10 million U.S. consumers voted to replace tan with blue.
M&M's is the world's largest candy brand. More than 400 million chocolate candies are produced daily and 146 billion annually. The brand is part of Masterfoods USA, Mars' new arm for its U.S. food, snacks and pet-care businesses.