Mars seeks col­lab­o­ra­tion in global start-up ini­tia­tive

Campaign UK - - NEWS - By Sonoo Singh

Mars has rolled out a global ini­tia­tive called Launch­pad to con­nect its brands with start-ups around the world to col­lab­o­rate on mar­ket­ing chal­lenges.

The com­pany, which owns food and pet­care brands in­clud­ing Twix, M&M’S, Whiskas and Pedi­gree, wants “ex­ter­nal think­ing” to help with new ideas.

Three times a year, Mars’ mar­ket­ing and sales teams will come up with briefs around a va­ri­ety of con­sumer chal­lenges. This may range from so­cial im­pact is­sues to emerg­ing new busi­ness mod­els to the fu­ture of re­tail.

Around 50 briefs will be col­lected, which will then be short­listed to ten. The most promis­ing ones will be matched with start-ups.

Speak­ing to Cam­paign at Cannes, An­drew Clarke, global chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer at Mars, said: “We need to bring in much more ex­ter­nal think­ing to pro­voke us and to get some of the best think­ing around how to solve the prob­lems of the fu­ture.

“We can’t do it all our­selves – whether it is prod­uct in­no­va­tion or busi­ness­model in­no­va­tion – and there­fore in­creas­ingly we are look­ing to part­ner and col­lab­o­rate.”

Launch­pad, which went live in April, has been cre­ated in part­ner­ship with Mars’ me­dia plan­ning agency, Mediacom, which will act as “match­maker” for the com­pany.

Clarke added: “The ini­tia­tive is about putting our dol­lars into test and learn, where the main goal of the pro­gramme is to bring in dif­fer­ent ideas that will even­tu­ally add value for con­sumers.

“I’m not ex­pect­ing ev­ery sin­gle idea to be a suc­cess, but we are hop­ing to learn as much from the fail­ures as the suc­cesses from this ini­tia­tive. It is about bring­ing new en­ergy from the out­side into the busi­ness.”

Mars picked up 179 Lions last week, 11 of which were golds. Most awards (111) were for Snick­ers “Hun­gerithm” by Cle­menger BBDO Mel­bourne.

M&M’S: could ben­e­fit from ‘ex­ter­nal think­ing’ by work­ing with start-ups

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