Mars has signed up with social networking site Facebook to allow users to send virtual chocolate gifts that can be exchanged for real products.

Facebook users will be able to buy more than 60 Mars products online from this week. The web page, Celebrate, allows users to select gifts from a downloadable application and pay for them with Paypal.

The recipient then receives a message and a unique barcode is sent to their mobile phone number, which can be scanned at one of 17,500 Paypoint outlets to redeem the chocolate.

Lynette Cowen, client services director at The Light Agency, the company behind the technology, said the service was the first application of its kind to be available on Facebook. If successful, it is expected to add more Mars products to the range, she added.