M&M’s Spokescandies controversy: everything you need to know

M&M’s Spokescandies controversy: everything you need to know

Ah, the candy store, such a sweet, undisputed occupation. Almost everyone loves your product, and you never get drawn into politics. Or so one would think. On Monday, M&Ms, Mars Wrigley’s cute little “melts in the mouth, not in your hands” candy, released one of those social media declarations that are usually seen when a company has really ticked consumers off.

“America, let’s talk,” the message begins. It goes on to note that the colorful little candy mascots featured in the company’s ads – essentially M&Ms with faces and limbs – have sparked controversy online.

Because of this, M&Ms “decided to take an indefinite hiatus from the spokenscandies,” adding actress and comedian Maya Rudolph as voice actress instead. But is this real? And what’s the chocolate-covered backstory? Here we go.

What are the “Spokescandies”?

M&Ms have been personalizing their candy for years, giving each colored candy a different voice and personality in their ads. The yellow M&M, for example, is represented as a sort of dim lightbulb. He’s a peanut M&M, so it might be a peanut brain game. The green M&M is portrayed as sexy, seemingly playing on an old playground joke about green M&Ms as little aphrodisiacs. The others all have slightly different personalities and appearances, and they remain fairly consistent from ad to ad.

The candy leaned heavily on the Spokescandies as part of its ad campaign. There’s even an in-theater ad that shows the M&Ms as if they were characters in an action movie. It has a double function as “Turn Off Your Cell Phone PSA”. Just as the candy is about to be sent into space strapped to a rocket, a phone rings and they scold the audience for not turning off their phones.

Why are they controversial?

Most of the excitement revolves around the green and brown candies, which are portrayed as female in ads. It started with her shoes. (Yes, those are still cartoon candies we’re talking about.) The green M&Ms used to be drawn in high-heeled white go-go boots, and the brown M&Ms in stiletto heels. Then, in 2022, the green boots were replaced by white sneakers, and brown went from super-high stilettos to a flatter, lower heel. (The male sweethearts all appear to be wearing chunky white saddle shoes or sneakers.)

Back in 2022, Fox News host Tucker Carlson mocked the changes on his show.

“M&M’s won’t be satisfied until every single cartoon character is deeply unattractive and utterly androgynous,” Carlson said. “Until the moment you don’t want to have a drink with any of them. That is the goal. If you’re totally off, we’ve achieved justice. They have won.”

Carlson decided to attack the candy again in January 2023, and also called out the orange M&M to “become a poster child for the mental health crisis” (the always-nervous character is said to be scared). He described a Purple Peanut M&Ma more recent character, as “obese and decidedly old-fashioned lesbian M&M”.

The purple, brown, and green M&Ms, the only colors represented by female Spokescandies, will be offered together in a limited-edition candy pack the company touts as supporting women, with a portion of profits going to organizations that “elevate and empower women.” strengthen. A graphic shown on Fox dubbed the all-female M&M pack “Woke Candy.”

Is this real or a publicity stunt?

So did this reaction inspire M&Ms to remove his candy mascot and replace it with Maya Rudolph?

A representative for Mars Wrigley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But let’s think about it. What’s just around the corner? The Super Bowl on February 12, home of outrageous commercials and flashy corporate publicity stunts. (We follow everyone Super Bowl Ad how they are revealed.)

It seems pretty likely that the cute little cartoon spokescandies aren’t going anywhere. Someone at Mars Wrigley is smart enough to play the headlines their mascots generated.

Maya Rudolph will almost certainly be in an M&M’s Super Bowl commercial, but there’s no way she’s going to replace the little animated critters for good. M&M’s are unlikely to ditch decades of cute, recognizable characters just for making a few statements about their height, gender and shoes.

According to TMZ, Rudolph has confirmed the commotion only stems from her Super Bowl commercial. And an MSNBC columnist also agrees it’s all just a publicity stunt.

Where have we seen this before?

It wouldn’t be the first time a Super Bowl ad has teased the removal of a company’s mascot. In 2020, a major gaming commercial showed that Funeral of Mr. Peanut, the mascot for Planter’s Nuts, and the arrival of Baby Nut instead. (Baby Nut came of age in 2021, just like soap operas.)

And in 2019, the mountain from Game of Thrones killed Bud Light’s mascot, the Bud Light Knight, in a Super Bowl commercial. He also returned to the living world in an ad shown just a few months later. So there’s precedent for those ads ripping away a beloved mascot and putting it back into ads later.

What’s next?

Tune in to the Super Bowl on February 12th to see what kind of commercial M&Ms has concocted with Maya Rudolph. It seems likely that the Spokescandies will make a humorous entrance and recapture their mascot roles.

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