MWITR talks big plans for M&M’s & seasonal strategy for gifting moments

By Faye Bartle |

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

MWITR Sales Director Marcus Hudson at the 2024 TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference.

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail (MWITR) utilised its exhibitor platform at the 2024 TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference in May to let the industry know that M&M’s is back on the radar and that there are big ambitions for the brand in travel retail.

“M&M’s is one of the largest candy brands worldwide, but the reality is the brand plays different roles in different regions so in order to activate it locally a regional element is needed,” MWITR Sales Director Marcus Hudson told TRBusiness.

“In Singapore, we wanted the stand to have a Chinese and Asian feel to it to showcase what we do for Chinese New Year and to really convey that localised feeling.

“What we are fully aware of is that the gifting moments in this region (APAC) are very connected to the travel seasons, such as Chinese New Year or Golden Week, so we are sharing some inspiration on the type of activations we can do around these occasions.”

Looking further afield, a good example of one such activation in the Middle East is the Galaxy souk style pop-up at Hamad International Airport.

“We really want to tap back into that crucial seasonality element,” said Hudson. “For Galaxy we have a new portfolio coming in so we can expect a lot more from the brand in the Middle East and also from our seasonal activations in Asia.”

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

The MWITR stand at the 2024 TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference offered a glimpse of localisation concepts for Asia.

MWITR believes there are huge opportunities in the Asia Pacific region to grow the confectionery sector, as it remains a ‘highly impulsive, good margin, and low maintenance category’.

However, one of the biggest challenges in the region is to drive footfall into the category, which is under-developed – particularly in China – compared to the rest of the world.

This is where tailoring Mars Wrigley’s global strategy to meet local needs and requirements comes in – and the response from its partners has been positive.

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

MWITR is focusing more on bringing local festivals to life on the shop floor, such as Ramadan, Diwali and Chinese New Year, by creating impactful touchpoints, celebrating regional cultures and converting these critical gifting moments.

“Firstly, the week has been amazing,” said Hudson, reflecting on the Singapore summit. “We know that in the confectionery category at the moment there are some challenges – all our supplier friends in the category are aware of it and discuss similar things.

“However, it feels like this week there is an action-oriented feeling to being here.

“We feel an energy towards what we are going to drive and push and that has been very engaging and exciting for us.”

As well as raising awareness of its seasonal strategy for gifting moments, MWITR is highlighting opportunities to unlock the potential of the transaction zone.

“This isn’t just limited to Mars Wrigley ITR,” said Hudson. “Every single transaction zone implementation in store needs to be carried out in collaboration.”

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

A snapshot of MWITR transaction zones examples at its stand.

New product innovations unveiled at the show included M&M’S Mini’s 310g pack containing lentil-sized milk chocolates with an extra crunchy crust, as well as the M&M’S Peanut and Crispy and Maltesers Global Traveller Passports gift boxes.

“We are going to be working very hard to bring M&M’s experiences to airports,” promised Hudson.

“We are giving a sneak peek to some of the retailers at the summit of the things we are looking to do with them in the future, which we will be able to share more about towards Cannes.”

“That’s what our stand will showcase and what we will be communicating on then.

“Experiences are what we really need to deliver in order to drive conversion in the confectionery category.”

Mars Wrigley International Travel Retail

M&M’S Peanut and Crispy and Maltesers Global Traveller Passports.

In the meantime, MWITR has a packed calendar of activities for the summer season, as mentioned above.

“Going forward, with the type of modular solutions that we have, it is very easy to adapt them to different seasons,” said Hudson.

“We are working on our agility, and one of the nice conversations that we’ve had with customers this week from different cultures is discovering what the big gifting seasons are for them.

“We have learned about some huge gifting moments that we never knew existed – like the moon festival in Korea.

“We’ve learned a lot in Singapore. I think we need to work out what we can execute and what we can drive, but we have an awful lot of input and a great team in this region that is really excited about making that happen.”

READ MORE: Mars Wrigley ITR to showcase M&M’s development at TFWA Asia Pacific

READ MORE: Mars Wrigley ITR pushing moment-led strategy at IAADFS Summit of Americas

READ MORE: Mars Wrigley ITR and ARI debut transaction zone areas at Dublin Airport

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