‘America, let’s talk.’
That’s how M&M’s – yes, the chocolate brand – opened in a statement announcing that it would be retiring its iconic cartoon mascots.
This week, Mars – its parent company – announced that the seven personified M&M’s (one of each colour) that appear frequently on TV adverts, will be replaced with American comedian Maya Rudolph.
On Monday, M&M’s said in a statement that while the company had made some changes to its ‘spokescandies’, it didn’t think anyone would notice – and it definitely didn’t think it would be so ‘polarising’.
A message from M&M’S. pic.twitter.com/EMucEBTd9o
— M&M’S (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
‘We definitely didn’t think it would break the internet,’ the company said.
‘But now we get it – even a candy’s shoes can be polarising. Which is the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together.
‘Therefore, we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies.’
It added: ‘We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong.’
The move came after what has been called a ‘manufactured outrage campaign’ by media commentators such as Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, who complained that M&M’s had become too ‘woke’ after they changed the shoes of their female characters.
Congratulations on finding the weakest possible response to the dumbest manufactured outrage campaign. Maya Rudolph is lovely, but letâs be honest: What youâre announcing here is that your real spokesperson is Tucker Carlson.
— Rob Sheridan (@rob_sheridan) January 23, 2023
In January last year, M&M’s announced a ‘fresh, modern take on the looks of our beloved characters and more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.’
This included swapping the green mascot’s ‘sexy boots’ for sneakers, and giving the brown charcter smaller heels – rather than stilettos.
Tucker appeared outraged at the decision, stating that: ‘M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous.
‘Until the moment when you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal.
‘When you’re totally turned off, we’ve achieved equity – they’ve won.’
Later, Tucker expressed his distaste towards a second rebrand in which the green mascot got her boots back – but was depicted holding hands with the brown M&M and a ‘plus-sized’ purple M&M was introduced.
Earlier this month, the company also launched limited-edition packaging featuring only the female characters, with proceeds going to female-focused charities.
While the move was meant to put an end to the ‘culture wars’, some people took issue with the latest decision.
One person said the company had reversed its decision to support women and others criticised M&M’s for backing down to Tucker Carlson and fuelling the ‘media storm’.
Letâs take the candy out of this. Your advertising was …read more