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M&M's celebrates 75th anniversary with fine art VR film

Mars' M&M?s is interpreting fine art in a new way by making it immersive, with a 360-degree video, viewable on smartphones and the brand?s social pages.

The film was produced in partnership with artist KAWS and art-collective VISIONAIRE. In this film, M&M?s is embracing the power of 360-degree video as a marketing tool and hoping the novelty and immediacy of the tech will attract loyal customers.

"This immersive collaboration with KAWS was a natural fit for the brand as we continue to celebrate 75 years of colorful M&M'S fun," said Tanya Berman, brand director for M&M'S. "KAWS' unique artistic take of the virtual reality trend creates a truly vibrant and unforgettable extension of our well-loved, colorful identity."

While virtual reality has its roots in video game peripherals of the 1980s, the tech has had a resurgence lately thanks to the advent of smartphones that makes the technology far easier to access for the average consumer than ever before.

But while more intense peripherals such as the Oculus or HTC Vive still exist, more and more brands are embracing the fact that anyone has a potential virtual reality machine in their pocket thanks to smartphones.

To take advantage of that, many brands have begun releasing virtual reality films on standard social channels such as through YouTube, banking on the fact that no extra equipment is needed and that consumers can watch the video just by holding their phones up horizontally in front of them.

KAWS' studio pre-transformation

The latest brand to attempt such a campaign is M&M?s, which is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the brand with a 360-degree video on YouTube, produced with help from an artist, KAWS, and an art collective VISIONAIRE.

The short film puts viewers in an art studio, where art inspired by M&M?s begins to come to life in kaleidoscopic ? and unnerving ? ways.

Art comes alive
The art and visuals in the film are a perfect fit for VR.

The video puts viewers right in the middle of an art collection come to life and makes use of the entire 360 degrees available to VR viewers to make the most of the film.

The M&M branding is subtle but undeniable, which could be a play to let viewers enjoy the art first and remember the brand second.

Virtual reality is an undeniably effective tool in the marketer?s arsenal, although perhaps one to be used sparingly for the time being as consumers warm up to the idea of using it.

Some recent examples of brands using VR are enlightening. For example, Pedigree is hosting this year?s annual Puppy Bowl in VR (see story).

KAWS' studio post-transformation

In other football and VR-related campaigns, a VR company is now letting consumers explore the stadium where this year?s Super Bowl is being held in virtual reality (see story).

These campaigns represent the plethora of ways that virtual reality is having an impact on brand?s marketing budget.

M&M?s is going the extra mile with its campaign, however, by hiring top-level talent to create a unique vision of a 360-degree world.

"Celebrating the beloved M&M's 75th with VR film technology and the colorful mastermind of the artist KAWS was pure and fun to make. We are always looking for ways to push artistic storytelling into the future," said James Kaliardos, co-founder of VISIONAIRE.