Ringing in 'Year of the Peanut'

M&M's Peanut to power Underground Atlanta's Peach Drop New Year's Eve party

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. -- New Year's Eve in Atlanta is going to be nuts – deliciously so. Today, Mars Chocolate North America and Underground Atlanta announced M&M's Peanut will be the presenting sponsor of the "25th Annual Peach Drop," an Atlanta tradition and the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the southeast.

New Year's Eve 2014 marks the official launch of the "Year of Peanut," a year-long integrated marketing campaign to celebrate M&M's Peanut. Although the program will include activations from coast to coast, the company chose Atlanta as the place to ring in the "Year of the Peanut," considering peanuts have been the official crop of Georgia since 1995, and the state annually produces approximately half of the U.S. yield--upwards of 1.7 million tons in 2012, according to the Georgia Peanut Commission.

"Georgia and M&M's share a passion for quality peanuts," said Roy Benin, chief consumer officer for Mars Chocolate North America. "In fact, only one in 100 peanuts is lucky enough to find its way into a bag of M&M's Peanut, so we think it's only fitting that we kick off our exciting 2014 campaign in what many people consider the Peanut Capital of the U.S."

The 25th Annual Peach Drop Powered By M&M's Peanut takes place on Dec. 31 at Underground Atlanta and will feature a full day of activities and entertainment, including live performances throughout the day and night. And in one of the South's most beloved traditions, the event will culminate with the dropping of an 800-pound illuminated peach, which begins its descent just before midnight.

Beyond sponsoring the event, M&M's Peanut is bringing a number of surprises to the party, including a celebrity emcee and headlining performer, who will be announced later this month, as well as a "peanut addition" to the traditional peach drop at midnight.

"The 25th annual Peach Drop is an incredible, longstanding tradition and the perfect way to introduce 2014 as The Year of the Peanut," added Underground Atlanta president Dan O'Leary. "As we get ready to ring in the New Year, we look forward to announcing the wonderful talent and sweet new additions this M&M's partnership will bring to the 25th anniversary of the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the Southeast."

The 25th annual Peach Drop powered by M&M's Peanut is the largest New Year's Eve celebration in the Southeast, the company said, a 16-hour event with a full day of family fun and an evening of entertainment!

The Peach Drop is an Underground Atlanta signature event. Underground Atlanta will be filled with carnival-style rides, live music, face painting, street performers and festival food. As 2014 nears, the main stage will light up with live performances and the 800-pound peach will begin its decent just before the clock strikes midnight. The party will continue in Kenny's Alley.

A festival marketplace located in the heart of the downtown, Underground Atlanta is one of the city's main attractions and a cultural hub. Opened in 1969 as a "city beneath the streets," Underground Atlanta still exhibits many of the significant architectural features from its original structure.

Mars Chocolate North America, Hackettstown, N.J., is the North American chocolate operations of Mars Inc. Based in McLean, Va., Mars Inc. has net sales of more than $30 billion and six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience.

Mars brands include Chocolate: M&M's, Snickers, Dove, Galaxy, Mars, Milky Way and Twix; Petcare: Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba, Cesar and Royal Canin; Wrigley: Orbit, Extra, Starburst, Doublemint and Skittles; Food: Uncle Ben's, Dolmio, Ebly, Masterfoods and Seeds of Change; Drinks: Alterra Coffee Roasters, The Bright Tea Co., Klix and Flavia; and Symbioscience: Seramis, Cirku and Cocoavia.