In an effort to gain a high-profile presence on the Internet beyond banner advertising, Mars has signed on as title sponsor of a multimedia movie trailer section being formally unveiled today on Hollywood.com.
The new section of the entertainment site is dubbed M&M's Eye Candy Theatre.
Mars' interactive agency @tmosphere, a New York-based arm of BBDO Worldwide, and L90, Santa Monica, Calif., an online marketing company that works with Hollywood.com, developed the sponsorship deal.
"We're seeing more and more bricks-and-mortar companies gravitating toward the Internet to drive their brand message home," said John Bohan, CEO of L90. "For M&M's, @tmosphere came to us looking for a high-profile, newsworthy site and, because M&M's has aligned itself with entertainment for such a long time, Hollywood.com was a natural fit."
Mr. Bohan said campaigns of this sort generally cost about $200,000.
M&M's Eye Candy Theatre features streaming video of M&M's spokescharacters watching previews of upcoming films. Consumers can click on movie previews and rate them using a system of one to four M&M's candies. They also can pull up critics' top 10 movie reviews, which use the M&M's rating. Icons link to Mars' own site for the brand, mandms.com. In addition, the site features an M&M's-branded sweepstakes that offers visitors a chance to win two free movie tickets and M&M's wallpaper.
Hollywood.com promotes M&M's Eye Candy Theatre via home page tiles, promotional banners, text links and e-mail newsletters.
A spokesperson from Mars was unavailable for comment.
On related fronts, CBS Corp. today is expected to complete a deal to take a 30% stake in Hollywood.com in return for $105 million in promotion, advertising and content. L90, meanwhile, is readying its initial public stock offering.