It’s intriguing how easy it is to find examples of creativity in our everyday lives. We’re surrounded by evident situations which have evolved from creative thinking; however, we, for some reason, simply neglect to recognize and/or acknowledge them.
Consider the simple M&M. Yes, the candy. When most people hear “M&M,” they immediately visualize a very small round candy-coated piece of chocolate candy, available in a small variety of colors, in a small, somewhat bland, brown bag. M&Ms taste great, they’ve been around for what seems like forever, and the most creative thing about them seems to be their slogan informing us that they melt in our mouth—not in our hands. Can you imagine being given the task to be creative with something as simplistic as an M&M? Well, my friend, it’s been done, and done very well, proving that creative thinking can be applied to just about anything.
Now move with me from the visual of a single M&M in your hand to this picture of one of three, yes three, retail stores operating under the name “M&M’s World.” This is the storefront of the Las Vegas location situated right on the Strip next to the MGM Hotel and Casino. This is a 28,000-square-foot, 4-story monument to chocolate … a great family excursion featuring more than 4,000 one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs designed solely for M&M’s World.
They have another similar location located on Broadway in the center of Times Square in New York City. This is a 25,000-square-foot, 3-story sensory immersion into the world of chocolate, featuring an interactive kids area, full-size Ford Fusion NASCAR and a 17-foot Green M&M character of Lady Liberty.
The newest location can be found in the Florida Mall in Orlando, Florida, not too far from Disney World. This 16,000-square-foot spectacle features similar attractions to the first two and certainly fits into the magic of the Orlando area.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit the New York City and Las Vegas locations and I can attest to the fact that when you walk through the door your jaw will drop, your eyes will widen, your mind will wander, and you’ll feel as though you should be looking for Dorothy because you know you’ve somehow arrived in Oz.
You’re going to find M&M’s in every possible size, shape, form, color, price, and container you can imagine. You can actually create a multitude of color combinations of your choice and you can have personal names or slogans placed on each M&M. Corporate logos and slogans on each M&M are also available on site or you can also do this once you return home via their web site and have them shipped directly to your home or office.
In each of these mega stores, you can find just about everything. In the clothing area, you’ll find T-shirts, hats, jackets, shorts, socks, head wear, and a variety of sports wear available in Mens, Ladies, youth, and infants/toddlers sizes. The choice of logos, slogans, pictures, etc. is unlimited.
You’ll also find bags and luggage, greeting cards, key chains, jewelry, watches, pins, home decor, bed and bath products, kitchen gadgets, magnets, office accessories, keepsakes, dispensers of every size and shape, figurines, seasonal ornaments and snow globes, a variety of toys and games, a large assortment of plush, a full line of pet accessories, footballs, baseballs, basketballs, soccer balls, golf balls and golf accessories, glass wear, and even car accessories. In short, it would take less time to list the things you CAN’T find in these mega stores.
Now let’s go back to my request that you visualize a single M&M in the palm of your hand. Someone was charged with the challenge to get creative and come up with a number of ways to support and promote that single little piece of candy in such a way that millions of people worldwide will remember it. Mission accomplished. It is true that these creative souls belong to the larger MARS family … proud creators of such favorites as Snickers, Starburst, Skittles, Dove Bars, Twist, Mars Bars and Uncle Ben’s Rice. However, the thousands of products, ideas, promotions, packages, strategies, etc. came from individuals … creative individuals.
The next time you’re facing a creative block, think back to that mental image of the single M&M in the palm of your hand. Then remember what’s evolved from something as basic as an individual piece of candy. If not for creative people with no-limit imaginations, open minds, and “get-er-done” attitudes, none of what I mentioned above would have become reality. As a result of these creative minds, millions of people have been pleased, surprised, entertained, and inspired beyond their wildest expectations. You can do the same. The choice is yours. Raise your own expectations, set goals, find mentors, benchmark, research, continuously challenge yourself, never stop learning and most importantly … enjoy your journey.