Halloween is supposed to arouse fear – but not among the candy manufacturers who deliver the goodies.
With the nation still in the middle of a pandemic, Mars Wrigley plans to bring one of the season’s most popular traditions online this year. Today, the company behind M & M’s, Snickers and Skittles unveiled an app called Treat Town, which allows users across the country to play virtually with each other throughout October.
After downloading the app on iOS or Android devices, users can choose their Halloween themed avatar, e.g. B. a vampire or monster, and design a custom door with cobwebs, warning tape, and jack-o’-lanterns before heading out to knock on other doors. Distributing treats on the platform means you will receive credit that attendees can exchange for Mars Wrigley items at select retailers online or in-store.
“We’re trying to simulate trick or treating as much as possible and use some of the fun rituals,” said Chris Brody, branding and communications architect for Mars. “So choosing your monster avatar is like choosing your costume in real life. So the candy credits that we put into a fun-sized virtual form look like a Skittles fun size or an M&M fun size pack that you collect and track in your inventory like you would all night . “
Special venues like Disney’s Haunted Mansion and M & M’S World in New York’s Times Square are also displayed in the universe of the app.
To prevent abuse on the platform, users can limit the number of virtual candies they want to give out and limit their digital experience to friends and family only. Adults over the age of 18 are allowed to set up an account to distribute candy, while only those under the age of 18 are allowed to collect candy door to door.
Halloween is a critical time for the industry. In the eight weeks leading up to Halloween 2019, total candy sales were $ 4.6 billion, according to the National Confectioners Association, which includes Mars, Hershey’s and Ferrara.
“It’s huge. It’s definitely our biggest season by far,” said Brody of what Halloween means to Mars Wrigley. “You could think of it as the Super Bowl for the confectionery category.”
According to polls, Americans are concerned about going out on Halloween. For example, a recent survey by Morning Consult found that 42% of adults in the US would like to celebrate this year, up from 57% last year.
Brody said Mars Wrigley’s planning for Halloween usually begins two years later. When the White House declared the novel coronavirus a national emergency in March, the company was forced to turn and started developing the Treat Town app in April. Given that people were trying to socially distance themselves from others while increasingly shopping online and the fact that vacations gave a sense of normalcy, the team decided that creating a new app was the best strategy.
“Our goal is to make sure people still have as much fun as possible this Halloween and trick or treating – the most important ritual of the season – no matter how things play out,” he said Brody.
He added that Treat Town is not intended to be a replacement for Halloween, but rather a complementary option.
“It offers this safe and fun indulgence in a year where there is obviously a lot different from years ago,” said Brody.