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Mars is 2016 Mobile Marketer of the Year

CEO Grant F. Reid has helmed a banner year for Mars, which is one of America?s oldest and largest privately held companies. 

In 2016, Mars joined brands such as Apple and Unilever in transitioning superb traditional creative to equally impressive innovations on the mobile front, while also further etching out a claim to one of the most cohesive omnichannel presences in marketing today.

Its M&M brand started off the year with a hot streak, celebrating its anniversary with a series of mobile offerings such as live streaming, Q&As, online voting mixed with television ads and retro packaging for a modern take on classic pop culture.

The brand celebrated its 75th anniversary in a big way with a new interpretation of the classic song ?Candy Man,? a live debut on Periscope and Tweet written by its iconic Red and Yellow characters. Fans were encouraged engage with interactive content in the form of downloading the new song, voting for the newest product and submitting questions for musicians Zedd and Aloe Blacc on Twitter. 

A music video was also premiered on YouTube for ?Candy Man,? which shows Mr. Blacc and Zedd having to step in for Red and Yellow?s failed recording attempt, intercut with classic M&M marketing. The video was then released as a television commercial after its YouTube premiere.

M&Ms then opened up charitable giving opportunities on mobile by encouraging consumers to complete daily social media challenges and raise funds for Red Nose Day by Tweeting #MakeMLaugh. A $1 donation for its second annual Red Nose Day was initiated every time the hashtag was used. 

Later in the year, Mars? 3 Musketeers brand reached out to young teens who feel isolated with an empowerment campaign on mobile video. The brand played off of a slang term to create the #ThrowShine campaign, which kicked off with a mobile video promoting candy wrappers emblazoned with empowering phrases such as ?you are awesome? and  ?you are one of a kind.?

And to round out the year, Mars? Snickers brand built the latest installment of its You?re Not You When Your Hungry campaign around a fake online service held on a mobile-optimized platform. Snickers launched a TV spot and mobile ad campaign that advertised a fictitious service that giving customers football predictions from a psychic. 

Mars? mobile efforts stay strictly in line with the identities its constituent brands have developed through knockout traditional creative: M&Ms? content stars its popular characters, and Snickers used mobile as an extension of its longstanding partnership with the NFL. In 2016, Mars? efforts on mobile were well on-brand, organic and divulged an approach to the platform for any brand looking to achieve marketing cohesion on all fronts while keeping mindful of heritage. 

Mobile Retailer of the Year first runner?s-up: Netflix
Netflix was a close second this year, leveraging guerilla social media marketing and on site activations that integrated with social channels to promote both its service and the original content hosted on it.

It began the year as one of the first massive companies to leverage advertising on one of the platform?s curated Live Stories, hosting promotional content for its original series Jessica Jones. Snapchat users tend to be millennial and tech savvy, broadcasting an interest in exacerbating the cord-cutting phenomenon emerging among the cohort. 

It then drummed up excitement for Orange is the New Black?s fourth season by leveraging Facebook ads that employ a dating application-like format, enabling users to toggle through lead characters? profiles to find a potential love match.

The program continued Netflix?s success in targeting millennials, through the full-screen mobile experience, which mimicked the interface of popular mobile dating applications such as Tinder. 

And the well-publicized return of Gilmore Girls was heralded through a number of popular on-site installations in New York and Connecticut; the latter hosted a selfie map tour. The tour was the product of a partnership with Connecticut?s Tourism board and featured the show?s fictional setting in a page on the state?s tourism Web site, and encouraging social media sharing of many Gilmore Girls inspired locales.

The streaming service rounded out the year by finally answering customers? longstanding requests by allowing users to download content instead of only streaming, expanding Netflix?s mobile usage rates in including those willing to watch the service on their phones but uncomfortable with the exorbitant data charges involved.