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Darth Vader Goes to the Dark Side With M&M

Darth Vader and his candy counter-part M-Vader were in New York yesterday to unveil the new Dark Chocolate M&M's, which will be on shelves nationwide starting April 2, 2005. The product was specifically developed to celebrate the release of STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH.

Dark Chocolate M&M'S are available to consumers for the first time in its 64-year history. The iconic colorful candies now offer a new rich dark chocolate flavor. Both Dark and Milk Chocolate M&M's feature special STAR WARS-themed colors and packaging depicting beloved M&M's Spokescandies in movie scenarios. "Red" and "Yellow" will be in the spirit as Jedi Obi-Wan and Darth Vader respectively.

"We continue to look for innovative approaches to launch products and know that dark chocolate is in great demand from our consumers," said Martyn Wilks, vp/gm of Snackfoods at Masterfoods USA. "Creating the STAR WARS M-Pire in anticipation of one of the biggest movie events of all time is a wonderful way to introduce a new product while delivering great taste and fun interaction with our collectible confections."

"Just as audiences watch Anakin turn to the Dark side on the big screen, we're thrilled that fans can join in the excitement by going to the Dark side with M&M's," said Tom Warner, director of marketing for Lucasfilm. "The new Dark Chocolate M&M's, coupled with the loveable Star Wars M&M's characters like M-Vader and M-Yoda, is a fun way for fans of all ages to celebrate the saga."

Consumers can collect 72 STAR WARS/M&M's-themed packages in Plain and Peanut varieties that feature exclusive under-the-wrapper "Galactic Gossip" about STAR WARS and M&M's trivia that fans will crave and collect.

Dark Chocolate M&M'S are available nationwide for a limited time at select theaters and concession stands as well as food, mass and drug stores. Adding to the fan fervor is M&M's MINI's new milk chocolate "Wookiee" and "Lava" color blends. Tubes will have STARS WARS character tops and light sabers. Personalized MY M&M's can also be printed with STAR WARS sayings, and a limited edition collectible tin is available online at www.mms.com/ or at M&M'S World in Las Vegas.

As part of the innovative promotion, a full-scale marketing effort from Masterfoods USA as the only confectionery partner includes promotions for its Skittles Brand, Kudos Milk Chocolate Granola Bars and Lucas Brand Crazy Hair. In addition, Masterfoods USA is "daring" fans with Star Wars- themed activities surrounding its NASCAR sponsorship, first-of-its-kind M&M's online movie trailer, advertising, promotions, co-marketing, licensing, public relations and participation in the largest STAR WARS fan event in Indianapolis in April, STAR WARS Celebration III.

Masterfoods USA, the U.S. food, snack and petcare operations of Mars Inc., is one of the world's leading food manufacturers. Headquartered in Hackettstown, New Jersey, Masterfoods USA employs more than 7,000 associates in the U.S., with 15 manufacturing facilities nationwide. For additional information, visit www.masterfoodsnews.com/.

Lucasfilm Ltd. is one of the world's leading film and entertainment companies. Founded by George Lucas in 1971, it is a privately held, fully integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion picture and television productions, the company's global businesses include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound; LucasArts Ent.; Lucas Licensing; and Lucas Online.

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Rick DeMott
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