Diamonds / Industry

M&M’s Lab-Grown Diamond Ad Airs During Super Bowl

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An M&M’s commercial during Super Bowl LVIII was built around the candy brand’s  “Almost Champions Ring of Comfort,” a consolation prize studded with 24 lab-grown diamonds made from peanut butter M&M’s.

“We took comforting M&M’s peanut butter and compressed it into real diamonds,” declares former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino—identified as an “almost champion”—in the ad. “Then we polished them with the sighs of those who almost won a Super Bowl.”

People in lab coats collect sighs for the rings from Super Bowl losers Terrell Owens and Bruce Smith, as well as actress Scarlett Johansson, who laments, “I’ve lost two Oscar races.”

M&M’s has said it created the diamonds using technology from LifeGem, a company best known for claiming it can create gemstones out of cremated remains (though some have raised doubts about that).

Jewelers Vigilance Committee president and CEO Tiffany Stevens says the M&M’s Super Bowl spot is likely not fully compliant with the Federal Trade Commission’s jewelry guides, which state: “It is unfair or deceptive to use the word ‘real,’ ‘genuine,’ ‘natural,’ ‘precious,’ ‘semi-precious,’ or similar terms to describe any industry product that is manufactured or produced artificially.” (In the FTC’s latest revision of the jewelry guides, it asked for industry comment on that issue.)

“This is a super-interesting use case,” Stevens says. “They should not have said ‘real diamonds.’ That is absolutely reserved for natural diamonds, and they should have specified they were grown in a lab. Given the visual, it is a lukewarm disclosure, but likely not enough.”

A Mars Wrigley spokesperson tells JCK that the diamonds were “created by exposing M&M’s peanut butter to a high-pressure environment—including 3,000°C temperatures and 800,000 pounds per square inch of pressure—before grinding and grading the diamonds into their final form. This is depicted with imagery and verbalized during the :30 ad along with a disclaimer of ‘*actual science’ to reinforce and make clear how the ring was made.

“We will not be selling the ‘M&M’s Almost Champions Ring of Comfort.’ Instead, [they are] being donated to Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco along with $58,000 to in honor of Super Bowl LVIII.”

The commercial wasn’t exactly a win for the lab-grown side, as the comfort ring goes to the losers, while the championship team gets a ring made with natural diamonds. a fact called out by De Beers CEO Al Cook after it aired.

 

Besides M&M’s, other food brands have climbed on the food-to-gemstone bandwagon recently. A&W Restaurants is holding a contest to win a diamond created from its Quarter Pound Cod Sandwiches. That 1 ct. diamond was also produced by LifeGem, A&W said. Taco Bell and Burger King have also given away diamonds made from their food.

This story has been updated with a comments from the Mars Wrigley spokesperson and Al Cook.

Top: Bruce Smith, a defensive end for the Buffalo Bills when they lost four Super Bowls in the 1990s, provides sighs to polish the lab-grown diamonds in the M&M’s “Almost Champions Ring of Comfort.” (Photo courtesy of M&M’s)

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By: Rob Bates

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