M&M's To Bring Candy to Life

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The Green M&M will make her debut tomorrow, with a Valentine's Day tie-in for the product, appearing on around 25 national and local talk shows, interacting with and being interviewed by hosts in a unique marriage of technology and media. The satellite media tour, in which Green appears with presenters alongside Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor, will begin in the morning and run until noontime. Additional parts of the holiday push include bags of all-green M&Ms emphasizing the candy maker's claims of the color's aphrodisiac properties and a microsite for the character. Ms. Green also has her own Twitter feed keeping fans abreast of her activity.

"The technology can put the character in any live situation, walking the red carpet, into the pit of a NASCAR race," says Mars North America spokesman Ryan Bowling. "We don't have to worry about free rendering the character; this technology allows us to take advantage of short lead opportunities as well as putting the character in environments we couldn't before."

BBDO, New York creative directors Tim Bayne and Lauren Connelly are behind the project, which uses a proprietary, Mars-owned motion control system, voice recognition and Bluetooth technologies. Mars' icon—an actress wearing a motion capture suit and a headset—will work alongside an animator manipulating the character's facial expressions with a joystick. That footage will at some point be joined via satellite with the main feed and broadcast as a whole. Mars, BBDO and partner Semerad Effects have been fine-tuning the technology for six months, mostly to correct the size of the character, which appears about two feet high on the set.
Creatives Tim Bayne (foreground left) and Lauren Connelly watch the M&M come to life
Creatives Tim Bayne (foreground left) and Lauren Connelly watch the M&M come to life
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