MCLEAN, VIRGINIA — Mars, best known for its candies, is rolling out a pilot program that for the first time gives its existing agencies global responsibilities — in hopes that elevating PR’s role will bolster the company’s brands, which include food, drinks and pet products in addition to sweets.

Each of the four agencies selected for the pilot will handle particular Mars brands. Freuds will be responsible for M&Ms and Seeds of Change; Omnicom PR Group will handle Orbit and Extra; Edelman has been awarded Skittles; and Weber Shandwick will handle Pedigree.

Each of those agencies has an existing relationship with Mars, although their work was market-focused rather than global. Their participation wasn’t guaranteed, however. They were selected through a competitive process in which other agencies participated, a spokesperson said.

In announcing the pilot Friday, chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke said adding PR to Mars’ global marketing mix will maximize the reach of existing campaigns, while giving rise to new ones.

“Our consumers are demanding a more seamless brand experience. The only way to really be present for our consumers today and tomorrow is to think beyond the traditional boundaries of marketing. We’re excited to explore the potential PR has to drive growth and incremental reach for our brands,” he said.

The initiative is being led by Clarke and Andy Pharoah, former Wrigley communications chief, who in 2016 took over the top corporate communications role at parent company Mars, following the departure of David Kamenetzky.

Giving PR a bigger role is the latest move by Mars to promote growth. Creating partnerships with digital platforms including Facebook, Google, Amazon is among efforts.