THE MARKETING 100;M&M'S KATHLEEN HISERODT

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Kathleen Hiserodt gave birth to the blues.

Ms. Hiserodt, then senior franchise manager for the M&Ms brand at M&M/Mars, coordinated the massive 1995 media push introducing blue M&M's, a product that pushed M&M's sales up 4.7%, to $433.1 million, for the 52 weeks ending Feb. 25, according to Information Resources Inc.

The push began in January when Mars launched a nationwide advertising and promotion blitz asking consumers to choose the new M&Ms color. TV, radio, and print ads from then-agency Bates Worldwide, New York, urged consumers to call a toll-free number and vote on their choice of pink, purple or blue.

That was augmented by a PR campaign, which sent costumed M&M characters to 109 high-profile events, such as Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the Super Bowl, to remind consumers to vote.In all, 10.2 million votes were tallied, with the resounding winner being blue. To celebrate, Mars lit up the Empire State Building in that hue for the announcement of the color choice on March 29, 1995. The blue M&M debuted in a combination balloon/float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Advertising from BBDO Worldwide, New York, broke-essentially the first color addition since 1949-in September 1995. Perhaps the best and most creative work on M&Ms in years, it used Claymation and showed envious non-blue M&Ms holding their breath to turn the desired shade.

Ms. Hiserodt joined M&M/Mars in 1987 from Yale School of Management and was category manager-savory snacks, for brands such as Combos, before moving on to M&Ms. She's since been promoted to a position working on Twix candy bars.

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