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Traffic to M&M Web Site Skyrockets 145 Percent Tue May 28, 3:13 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Traffic to the M&M Mars Web site skyrocketed 145 percent earlier this month due to Internet surfers voting for the newest M&M candy color, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. attracted 336,000 surfers logging on at home during the week ending May 19, compared to 137,000 visitors the week prior, said Internet audience measurement service NetRatings.

Purple took the top spot as the most popular color choice. Thirty percent of the total audience visiting the site voted for purple, 19 wanted aqua, while pink garnered 9 percent.

The M&M site attracted a predominantly female audience with a 67-to-33 gender split.

During the same time period, Mars Inc. Snackfoods ran an online advertising campaign alerting Web surfers of the debut of a new candy color, asking surfers to vote for their favorite color.

Online “hits” for the Mars ad campaign grew 170 percent to 25.5 million during the week ending May 19, compared to 9.4 million a week earlier.

“The recent online ad campaign by M&Ms is a great case study in how Web advertising can build brand awareness and drive site traffic,” said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of media research for NetRatings.