Mars Wrigley is the combined chocolate, candy, mints and gum division of privately owned foods giant Mars Inc. The group was already a global giant in confectionery when it agreed to acquire leading worldwide chewing gum manufacturer Wm Wrigley Jr in 2008 with additional financial backing from investment company Berkshire Hathaway. Initially the two businesses of chocolate and gum were kept separate. Mars finally took full control of the Wrigley division in 2016, buying out Berkshire's shares, and the two organisations were eventually consolidated under the Mars Wrigley banner. This business is one of two leaders in global confectionery alongside Mondelez. It houses several of the world's best-known confectionery brands including the two top-selling products overall: M&Ms and Snickers. These are supported in turn by chocolate snacks Milky Way, Twix and Dove/Galaxy and various local jewels such as 3 Musketeers (in the US), Mars Bar (outside the US), Balisto and Amicelli (mainly in Germany), Bounty and Maltesers (mainly in the UK). The chocolate products are partnered by Skittles and Starburst sugar confectionery; and the Wrigley's, Extra, Orbit and Hubba Bubba gum portfolio. There is also a growing collection of other snacks. Combos is one of the oldest such brands in the collection, a savoury bagged snack marketed in North America since the 1980s. In 2017, Mars acquired international ownership of the Kind nut bar range, and added the US business as well in 2020. Mars Wrigley is the global leader overall in general confectionery with sales of around $18.0bn. Wrigley is the global leader by far in gum and mints, with more than 70% market share in the US, and an even higher share in many international territories. (In the UK, for example, share is as much as 90%). In global chocolate, though, Mars ranks #2 overall behind arch-rival Mondelez, and behind Hershey in the US. Andrew Clarke succeeded Martin Radvan as global divisional president of Mars Wrigley in 2018.
Capsule checked 4th January 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 3rd May 2021: "For When It's Time". Ads for Mars-owned Extra chewing gum have in the past mostly tended to be a little basic, even slightly painful to watch. Who can forget Antonio Banderas having a conversation with animated doughnuts and cupcakes? I wish I could. It was time for a change, and Energy BBDO more than stepped up to the mark with this hilarious parody of post-lockdown life. You might have spent the past year indoors without combing your hair, getting out of your pyjamas, and most especially practising proper oral hygiene, but now it's time to get out there again and freshen up that breath again.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Nov 2020: After three years as a minority investor, Mars has acquired full control of the Kind nut bar snack range. Terms were not disclosed but the New York Times estimated a deal that valued the business at $5bn (up from $4bn when Mars first acquired shares). Kind founder and CEO Daniel Lubetzky will "retain an ongoing financial stake" according to a public statement. Annual sales of Kind bars are reported to have grown from around $1bn three years ago to $1.5bn today. The brand is now marketed in 35 countries globally. [Updated: Shortly after that announcement, Kind itself acquired rival US snack bar manufacturer Nature's Bakery for an undisclosed sum.]
Adbrands Daily Update 28th Jan 2020: "Yoghurt Boy". You really don't want to know how they make Skittles Dips, trust me. Skittles ads have always trodden a fine line between the comical and the truly disturbing. Here's another of those times when they slip entirely into the latter category. DDB Chicago's nightmarish vision actually slipped out last Halloween in the UK, but was almost entirely overlooked at the time. What a shame; it's actually a miniature masterpiece. We love yoghurt boy but we seriously wouldn't want him in our own house, no matter how good he tastes.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th Jan 2019: For this year's Super Bowl in two weeks' time, Mars brand Skittles is aiming to top its 2018 stunt. That, famously, was an extended commercial featuring former 'Friends' star David Schwimmer. Only thing was, it aired to an audience of just one person. Californian teenager Marco Menendez was the lucky winner of the super-exclusive ballot. Every one else had to make do with a film of him watching the film, and few oddball excerpts. This year, the candy brand will stage a specially conceived one-off theatre performance - 'Skittles Commercial: The Broadway Musical' - at the Town Hall Theater in New York. No details have been released yet, but Mars promises that at least one celebrity is involved. Buy your tickets now at Ticketmaster!
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Mars announced the retirement later this year of Martin Radavan, currently global president of Mars Wrigley confectionery. His successor will be British-born Andrew Clarke, chief marketing & customer officer.
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