True or False? Mars Inc. refused the chance for its flagship product, M&Ms, to be used in the 1982 film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Mars Inc. passed on the chance for its flagship product, M&Ms, to be used in the 1982 film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial allowing the Hershey Foods Corporation’s Reese’s Pieces to become a huge international success. Amblin Productions approached Mars Inc. proposing a tie-in between M&Ms and their film, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, but Mars said no.
Maybe Mars didn’t want its name linked with extraterrestrials, or the film’s premise was just too otherworldly, or some unnamed executive thought nobody would want to see a movie about an ugly alien adopted by a lonely kid. Whatever the reason, given the international success of E.T., it was incredibly short-sighted.
Hershey’s “Yes” quickly replaced Mars’ “No”. Hershey did not pay to have Reese’s Pieces used in E.T., but did agree to a tie-in between the two, when the film was to be released. Hershey agreed to promote E.T. with a million dollars worth of advertising. In return, Hershey could use E.T. in all of its ads.
Up until E.T., Reese’s Pieces was an underdog confection, only faintly known by the candy-consuming public. Within two weeks of the movie’s premiere however, a shy little alien lured from the bushes and into America’s hearts by a trail of sweetly coated peanut butter candies, had caused Reese’s Pieces sales to go through the roof. The rest of the story, they say, is history.