On Dec. 2, M&M/Mars breaks a 15-second commercial for its holiday-dressed red and green candies featuring St. Nick himself. Set to the strains of "The Nutcracker Suite," Santa Claus is busy laying out presents under the tree when he encounters the holiday M&M's about to leave him a snack.
"He's real!" shout the candies at the same time Santa exclaims, "They're real!" Then Santa falls over in a dead faint.
The spot, from BBDO Worldwide, New York, is augmented by print advertising breaking in November and December magazines. That ad features a wreath constructed from holiday M&M's, offering consumers instructions on how to create one if they call a toll-free number.
M&M/Mars wouldn't disclose spending on the holiday advertising.
But a spokeswoman said the ads are "consistent with our strategy of having our characters interact with celebrities, in this case Santa. It's part of our ongoing series."
The M&M's previously have appeared with "Wings" star Steven Weber and blues great B.B. King.
The holiday advertising isn't the only news for the animated M&M's. In a recent address to the Advertising Women of New York, BBDO executives disclosed the so-far male-only cast of M&M's will be joined by a female candy clad in go-go boots in January (AA, Nov. 11).