consumer packaged goods

Candy Brands Increased Ad Spending By Nearly 25% In 2023


Candy brands were sweet on advertising last year.

According to MediaRadar’s analysis of advertising spending in a recent report, nearly 150 candy brands spent over $352 million on advertising from January-November, 2023 – an increase of 23% year-over-year. There was also a 10% increase in the number of brands that advertised in 2023.

The intelligence and sales enablement platform’s study looked at a sample of ad spending across channels including national broadcast, national print advertising, OTT advertising, podcasts; and digital channels, including websites, social platforms and digital video.

Despite the preponderance of additional brands this year, four big competitors accounted for close to half of all spending. M&M’s, Butterfinger, Nerds, and Werther’s Original (listed in order of spending) – all invested over $30 million and, collectively, spent nearly $149 million over the 11 months analyzed.



TV was the top channel for candy brand spending with $156 million, representing 44% of all spending. But the platform actually saw a 13% decrease year-over-year. M&M's – the only candy brand to appear in a Super Bowl ad in 2023 -- provided a significant boost by investing a majority of its $66 million ad budget in TV. M&M’s was also alone among the top four brands in spending on print advertising, which represented 23% of its spending. The Mars mainstay also spent the most on paid social, which accounted for 10% of the brand’s spending – nearly all of which (99%) went to Facebook, according to MediaRadar. Overall spending on print and paid social accounted for 6% and 8%, respectively.

Digital video comprised 36% of spending analyzed, totaling $125 million, and was the most heavily invested channel for the other three of the top four spending brands.

Runner-up Butterfinger didn’t shy away from TV, which represented 42% of its spending, while the majority of its spending (52%) went to online video.

But the next highest spender, Nerds,, eschewed TV altogether and instead invested almost entirely on digital channels, with online video and paid social channels combined comprising 97% of its spending – with the majority of paid social spending on Gen Z favorite TikTok.

Werther’s Originals spent the vast majority of its budget, 82%, on online video, with most of the remainder (16%) going to TV, and its remaining investments “accounting for less than $200K in display, native, and OTT,” according to MediaRadar.

Notably, Nerds’ heavy investment in digital video 2023 seems to have paved the way for a big broadcast campaign this year. The brand will make its Super Bowl debut in this year’s game, which also represents a first appearance for parent company Ferrara, while M&M’s will make a return to the Big Game with its “Ad For All Funkind.”

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