SOURCE: Masterfoods USA

May 03, 2006 15:42 ET

New M&M'S® White Chocolate Treasure Discovered by Pirate "Ragetti" at NYC Seaport

In Time for Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" New Yorkers Are First to Plunder Packs of M&M'S® White Chocolate Pirate Pearls

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 3, 2006 -- Live from the docks of New York City's South Street Seaport, Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean's Ragetti (played by actor Mackenzie Crook) led his band of pirates ashore to reveal the newest chocolate treasure from M&M'S® Brand Candies -- the first ever White Chocolate M&M'S in the United States. Dubbed M&M'S White Chocolate Pirate Pearls, the candies hit shelves nationwide starting today for a limited time in celebration of Disney's July 7th release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- the next tale of Captain Jack Sparrow's mis-adventures.

As much a part of pop culture as the latest summer blockbusters, M&M'S Candies are recognized as one of the most essential elements of any movie experience and the quintessential sweet movie treat. Along the story line of "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest," the M&M'S Candies reflect the tone, colors and imagery of the movie, including changing-color M&M'S MINIS® Sunken Treasure Mix, M&M'S® Milk Chocolate Pirate Gems and M&M'S® Peanut Chocolate Captain's Gold varieties. White chocolate M&M'S are a custom pearl/Caribbean color blend including white, cream, pastel yellow and light blue candy shell colors and the candies have special pirate images, such as a pirate ship and nautical spyglass, imprinted on them. The packaging will also showcase the loveable M&M'S® Brand Characters in a variety of pirate costumes alongside actor Johnny Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow.

"We're thrilled to introduce white chocolate M&M'S in conjunction with Disney's 'Pirates of the Caribbean,'" said Michele Kessler, vice president of marketing at Masterfoods USA. "White chocolate has grown in popularity and we're proud to bring another delicious choice to our consumer fan base."

White chocolate is the fastest growing variant in the chocolate category with a 24% growth over the past year.* The new M&M'S White Chocolate Pirate Pearls candies offer a new flavor experience for consumers with a sweet and subtle flavor. The pirate symbols also add a great interactive factor to movie aficionados.

"M" Marks the Spot

M&M'S® Brand White Chocolate Candies, M&M'S® Milk Chocolate Jack's Gems and M&M'S® Peanut Chocolate Captain's Gold varieties are available nationwide for a limited time in food, mass, convenience and drug stores. They are available in either 1.5 oz. singles, 5.3 oz. peg pack, 12.5 oz. or 18.6 oz. bags and retail for $0.55, $1.39, $2.69 and $3.99 respectively.

M&M'S MINIS have a special "under the sea" Sunken Treasure color blend that feature a range of new colors, including sea green lentils that turn to gold when eaten, due to innovative color-changing technology. M&M'S MINIS are being sold at a retail price of $0.55 in 1.08 oz. tubes.

The M&M'S and "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" promotion brings consumers a themed website, traditional TV and print advertising spots and a NASCAR® pirate-themed specialty car. Online at www.mms.com/pirates, M&M'S fans have a chance to enter the M&M'S White Chocolate Bahamas Give-away in conjunction with Women's World magazine. Additionally, consumers can play pirate-inspired games, create e-cards and watch animated webisodes in which Red and Yellow review some basic rules on being a pirate.

The Pirate Pearls Promotion

As part of the innovative promotion, a full-scale marketing effort from Masterfoods USA as the sole confectionery promotional licensee includes promotions for its SKITTLES® Brand, STARBURST® Brand, M&M'S MINIS®, M&M'S® Ice Cream and NASCAR®. Specifically, SKITTLES and STARBURST feature new tropical flavors to celebrate the Caribbean adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow. The new tropical SKITTLES® flavors are Pineapple Passionfruit, Strawberry Starfruit and Mango Tangelo. New STARBURST® flavors include Royal Berry Punch and Piña Colada.

About Masterfoods USA

Masterfoods USA, the United States food, snack and petcare operations of Mars, Incorporated, is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. With more than $5 billion in annual sales, the combined food, snack and petcare segments are a symbol of excellence for quality brands. Headquartered in Hackettstown, NJ, Masterfoods USA employs more than 7,000 associates in the United States, with 15 manufacturing facilities nationwide. The company owns some of the world's favorite brands, including M&M'S® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, UNCLE BEN'S® Brand, PEDIGREE® Brand Food For Dogs and WHISKAS® Brand Food For Cats. For additional information please visit the Masterfoods USA Online Newsroom at www.masterfoodsnews.com.

About PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST

Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley reunite in Walt Disney Pictures', in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Films, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN'S CHEST, an all new epic tale chronicling the further mis-adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Gore Verbinski from a screenplay written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio, Captain Jack sets sail on an all new adventure -- filled with more intrigue, more spectacular special effects and more comedy -- in July 2006.

*Source: IRI, FDMC 52 weeks ending 2/27/05

Editors' Note: Photos were posted on 5/2/06 and are available via the Associated Press Photo Network and on the Internet at Feature Photo Service's link through http://www.newscom.com. This release was distributed by FPSnewswire a division of Feature Photo Service Inc.

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