M&M's Rolls Out New Candy Character With Museum of Chocolate Art

By Anna Sekula February 10, 2012, 12:38 PM EST

Photo: Courtesy of Mars Chocolate North America

M&M's Museum of Chocolate Art
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After using its Super Bowl commercial to introduce its latest “spokescandy,” a character named Ms. Brown, M&M's continued the marketing push with the opening of a chocolate-filled space in SoHo. The temporary spot, which was unveiled to the public on Wednesday and will remain open through Sunday, is dubbed the M&M's Museum of Chocolate Art and offers sculptures, paintings, and sketches made from milk chocolate.

The promotional platform is just part of a larger campaign from parent company Mars Chocolate North America. M&M's has already hosted a live Facebook chat for fans, and beginning on February 19, Ms. Brown will make several cameo appearances during TV show Celebrity Apprentice.

Rather than set aside an area within its Times Square store, the confectionery company opted to spotlight the in-person activation by housing the exhibition in a stand-alone venue. To help execute the endeavor, M&M's reached out to event designer Jes Gordon, whose team spent two days decorating the raw space, previously occupied by a clothing retailer.

As a way to engage consumers, the whimsical artwork display is designed to tell the life story of the fictional character, showcasing moments like Ms. Brown at graduation, cutting the ribbon of the new building, and attending a sales conference. The pieces were commissioned specifically for the project. M&M's invited Jim Victor, Hakan Martensson, and Marie Pelton to create sculptures while Gordon tapped artists Sylvia Maier, David Pfendler, Matt Mikas, and Chris Boyd to fashion paintings from chocolate powder and oil.

On Tuesday, the brand held an opening reception for press with actress and singer Vanessa Williams, who voiced the character for the TV spot. Pinch Food Design supplied the nibbles, a selection intended to contrast the chocolate-packed surroundings. Passed hors d'oeuvres included cheddar sandwiches with apricot and basil, boneless buffalo chicken wings with celery and blue cambozola, and mini meatballs with tomato sauce atop a compressed serving of angel hair pasta, while interactive stations held New York strip steak bites, slow-cooked chicken ragu, and tacos with four different choices of filling and an array of toppings. Dessert, however, did incorporate Mars productions, with M&M's used in the madeleines, banana semifreddo rice crunch, and almond baklava, and with milk chocolate in the kataifi pudding.

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