Analyzing the M&M super bowl commercials is a lot of fun. They are very effective at getting customers to buy, that they are worth studying. The secret behind their effectiveness is the emotion that they trigger.
The “Just My Shell” Super Bowl Commercial is a case in point. Watch the commercial, and guess which emotion they are triggering in their customers:
Who is Targeted With This Funny Super Bowl Commercial?
M&M’s are targeted at everyone, and they have a little bit of fun for everyone.
For example, the Warrior personality types will appreciate the bravado of the red M&M that strips down without any shame. The Logisticals will like how Ms. Brown confronts the geek that is oogling her. The Strategists will like the dry, witty humor. And the Morale Officer personality types, will like that each color of M&M has its own persona.
They really get this right, and I can appreciate the thought that went into these commercials.
What Emotion is Triggered By These Commercials?
Because they are funny and they end with a punch-line, if you said the emotion of “surprise,” you’ve got it right. But there is more.
Surprise is a transition emotion. It is like the fork in the road, and it leads to one of two other emotions: either fear, or happiness.
For example, if you were surprised to see a gun pointed at you, the next emotion you’d feel is fear. But this is obviously not the case for the M&M commercials. We’re seeing happiness. When you’re done watching these commercials, you’re happier, right?
Surprise and happiness are not the only emotions that are triggered in the M&M commercial. There is a power emotion too. That is contempt. It is one of the power emotion that I talk about in my 99-Cent Kindle book: “Emotional Copywriting Revealed.”
M&M does a great job making this a subtle emotion that is not obvious. It wouldn’t be wise to call attention to what they are doing.
Contempt for Who or What?
Contempt is the emotion that causes you to think that someone is beneath you, and deserves scorn. Who is it that they are mocking?
If you said the “food police” and the “health nuts,” you’re right again.
Let’s face it. M&M’s are a junk food. They are made from processed sugar, milk, and chocolate. These ingredients don’t rank very high in nutritional value, right? Just a lot of empty calories, if you think about it.
When you think about that, the M&M’s have a lot of enemies in the health food industry. In order to sell their product, they subtly mock them by triggering the contempt emotion. Contempt is a great trigger, because it causes retribution (the desire to get even).
In this commercial, we have the new character, Ms. Brown. Now she is a very pretentious character. Wearing her “I’m-so-smart” glasses, she begins the conversation by talking about herself and doing a little name-dropping. This is to show that she is in the upper-crust of society: “So I said, Mr. Prime Minister, I’m flattered…”
How many of “those kind” of people do you like to be around? Already, you have contempt for her, because she reminds you of other high-fluentin’ people – just like the health-food crazies that shop at those high-priced-all-natural food stores.
Then she dresses down a guy that is staring at her. It is almost like she’s saying: “My eyes are up here, you chauvinistic bastard!” The contempt is just building here, isn’t it.
Fortunately, Mr. Red walks in and puts her in her place: “So it’s that kind of Party!” And he strips naked to his chocolate and starts dancing. She is voted-down!
In a nutshell (or an “M&M-shell”), the message of the commercial is: “Don’t worry about what those pretentious health-nuts are saying, eating M&M’s is about living a fun life.”
Here are a few more of my favorite commercials from M&M. Notice that the theme is consistent. They are always mocking the health-nuts by holding them in contempt.
You are What You Eat
I love the guys at M&M/Mars company, because they show how to make a commercial that works against the politically-correct people of society.
If you would like to learn more about how to create ads like this, start by learning two important concepts: “Who is your customer?” and “What emotion can you trigger in them that will cause them to buy your product?” Learning who-is-your-customer is found in the Personality Marketing Manual, and information about what-emotions-can-you-trigger is found in Emotional Copywriting Revealed.
Until next time, “Be Fruitful.”