M&M’s ditches iconic ‘spokescandies’ after backlash
Mars Wrigley’s M&M’s announced that the “spokescandies” would have an “indefinite pause.” After the controversy surrounding its new advertising campaigns, these new additions of colors to M&M chocolates seem too divisive for America.
Recently, M&M’s opened up to a whole new idea of adding new colors to its candies. It is directed at women’s empowerment with its “all-female” package.
A little encouragement from our new friend. pic.twitter.com/uHI0fE8c6o
— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) October 17, 2022
The company added a new purple M&M chocolate in September. Its new packaging featured purple, green and brown.
However, a new update to the M&M characters sparked controversy. Social media users reacted differently when the green M&M chocolate changed from the usual go-go boots to white sneakers.
Although at that time, Mars cleared in a statement that they aim to “creating a world where everyone feels they belong.” It also noted that Green’s style change showed “confidence and empowerment, as a strong female, and known for much more than her boots.”
There is a lot of outrage over the end of frumpy, plus-sized, and lesbian M&Ms.
We accept full responsibility, and will respond tonight at 8pm ET.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) January 23, 2023
Some disagreed and even scrutinized the wardrobe update. Tucker Carlson is also one to oversee its real meaning. He found the M&M chocolate color without heels as “deeply unappealing.”
Fox News’ Kat Timpf also said Green displays as “an opportunistic, evil bitch.” She said it suggests you should “run from women like the green M&M.” Another Fox anchor even suggested the new package highlighted China when the new M&M chocolate package came out.
In reaction to this backlash, Mars Wrigley released a statement on Monday. The message was long, but it focused on how they understand that the changes can be polarizing.
A message from M&M'S. pic.twitter.com/EMucEBTd9o
— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
It said, “We definitely didn’t think it would break the internet. But now we get it — even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing,” the company continued, surely confusing many people who had no idea what this sentence could possibly mean. We’ll come back to that.”
With the unexpected reactions, M&M’s decided to just drop the changes that entail powerful messages. It tweeted this morning that Maya Rudolph would replace the spokescandies. Although they didn’t mention their advocacy being too polarizing.
M&M’s will launch Rudolph at the upcoming Superbowl LVII. Rudolph was a Saturday Night Live alumna who wasn’t involved in any culture wars. Whether this apparent solution is just a Superbowl marketing tactic or a real solution to the controversy, only the company would know.
We’re so excited to welcome Maya Rudolph! Our new Chief of Fun already has so much planned. pic.twitter.com/jYbY0M0sh0
— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
The chocolate company posted about the changes. “In their place, we are proud to introduce a spokesperson America can agree on: the beloved Maya Rudolph. We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong.”
Mars Wrigley North America chief marketing officer Gabrielle Wesley made the confirmation in a statement. He said their decision to present Maya Rudolph as the “chief of fun and spokesperson” for M&M’s was already “in the works for a while.”
Furthermore, M&M’s was not the first brand to stand up for social issues. Nike also headed on the same route by running its “For Once, Don’t Do It” campaign after George Floyd’s death in 2020. It urged consumers to avoid ignoring injustice.
As Forbes reported, surveys prove that most young people want brands to participate in social issues. One survey showed that 87% of consumers would buy a product because the company supported an issue they cared about. However, 76% won’t buy products advocating issues that were against their beliefs.
M&M’s case proved otherwise, as sending feminist messages didn’t work as they expected. Not that women or LGBTQ need colored candies to support them, but ditching the M&M chocolates after disapproval from conservative news anchors is unacceptable.