• Mars Wrigley is a strategic corporate brand partner to Venture 10 Studio Group and producer Hangar 56 in their development of a reality competition show called “#Followme.” On the program, aspiring social influencers will compete in business-themed challenges featuring the candy maker’s brands, including M&M’s, Skittles and Orbit, per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The program, scheduled to air on ABC, will follow along as competing influencers try to build their audiences.  
  • Mars Wrigley’s sponsorship of a show that follows creators in-person and online comes as marketers look for ways to integrate their products into original programming. The goal is to reach younger viewers who don’t pay attention to traditional ads, while also tapping into social media and influencer culture.

Mars Wrigley is getting on board with the growing trend of brands that showcase their products within content by backing “#Followme.” The company not only seeks to raise awareness for its brands with the broad reach of national linear TV, but also to engage its target audience on social media as younger viewers follow the show’s contestants and vote for their favorite aspiring influencers. With many consumers using mobile devices while they watch TV, Mars Wrigley can extend the exposure for its brands among an audience that’s difficult to reach amid the growth in ad-free streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. 

With the new reality show, the candy maker aims to maintain relevance among younger consumers who are most likely to follow influencers providing everything from product recommendations to lifestyle tips. Seventy percent of Gen Zers follow at least one influencer on platforms like YouTube or Instagram, researcher Kantar found in a consumer study last year. In addition, 44% of Gen Zers said they had made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, compared with 26% of the general population, according to the survey.

“We recognize the importance of showing up on platforms where our fans are consuming content and influencers play a huge role in driving interest to a new generation of fans,” said Ray Amati, media director for Mars Wrigley, in a statement.

In a previous branded content push, Mars partnered with Disney to sponsor holiday-themed short film series titled “Bite Sized Horror” and “Bite Sized Holidays” for Halloween and the winter holidays, respectively. The company also teamed with video network Tastemade and Pinterest to create several do-it-yourself videos that promoted Easter candy.

Mars Wrigley is the latest marketer to seek out ways to more deeply integrate with TV programming. Pepsi in the past six months has pushed into branded content with several shows on TV or social video. The beverage brand last month began airing a dating show on MTV called “Match Me If You Can” inspired by its new Pepsi Mango flavor. To broaden the show’s reach, it also appeared on MTV’s YouTube channel and the streaming video platform Pluto TV. Before that, the beverage company promoted its Pepsi Wild Cherry flavor in a branded game show called “Cherries Wild” and a virtual hip-hop competition called “Your Wildest Dreams” on video app Triller.