|Free M&Ms for the Millennium|
|Netlore Archive: Sorry, forwarding this chain letter will NOT net you a case of free M&Ms for the Millennium|
This week's high-profile email hoax purports to originate from Hershey, Pennsylvania, the home, allegedly, of M&M's chocolate candies. Problem is, that's not where M&M's are made. Mars, Inc., the actual manufacturer of the "melt in your mouth, not in your hand" confection, is located in Virginia.
What you will find in Hershey, Pennsylvania is the headquarters of Mars' biggest chocolate-making competitor, Hershey.
The source of these morsels of misinformation is the following forwarded message, first sighted around the end of June 1999:
Subject: Have some fun-this is not a hoax.
Hi. My name is Jeffrey Newieb. I am a marketing analyst for M & Ms chocolate candies based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. As the year 2000 approaches, we want to be the candy of the millenium - As you may already know, the roman numeral for Y2K is MM. We are asking you to pass on this e-mail to 5 friends. Our tracking device is calculating how many e-mails you send out. Everytime it reaches 2000 people, you will receive a free case (100 individual 55 gram packs) of delicious M & M candies. That means the more people it reaches, the more candy you're going to get. Mmmmmm... yummy M & Ms for the year 2000!! Remember, nothing but bad luck will come your way if you do not share this with at least 5 people!
I spoke by phone to a representative of the Mars company, who confirmed the obvious: this is a hoax. And not a particularly clever or original hoax, at that. Compare it to the "Free Beer from Miller" chain letter of last April. This message follows the same formula, flaunting the same millennial tie-in, the same fictional device of "email tracking," and the same absurd offer of free merchandise to those who send it on as instructed.
The "bad luck" threat at the end of the message deviates from the original, but it's still an old, familiar element from traditional chain letters of the past, which often contained both a hook and a threat to persuade readers to comply.
The name of the supposed author, "Jeffrey Newieb," appears to be a lazy anagram for "newbie" presumably characterizing the prank's ideal target.