A little over two weeks ago the M&M ‘spokescandies’ were put on an “indefinite pause” after the candy company announced the candies were too polarizing following previous changes the candies under went last year. While this led many to believe the idea had something to do with their Super Bowl ad slot, the company promised the move to replace the candies with actress Maya Rudolph didn’t have anything to do with the Super Bowl. Though now we know that was incorrect. Moments after the final whistle blew on the game the M&M candies held a press conference stating they were back in their rightful place as the brands mascots.
— M&M’S (@mmschocolate) February 13, 2023
— M&M’S (@mmschocolate) February 13, 2023
The latest corporate sacrifice comes in the form of M&M’s candy characters. After attempting to make the candies a “more relevant and inclusive” group, primarily trying to represent more women through swapping shoes – the company faced backlash from Fox as Fox called out the candy company over their woke attempt at making the candy mascots sexual. While there are many theories swirling about the candies, the company has made the latest change after some marketing experts said this was the only step the company could take without starting a fight. While there have been mentions of an M&M Super Bowl Ad series, and even a new spokesperson many are thinking all of the buzz created by M&M the past few days is all leading up to their Super Bowl commercials though the company claims this is far from the truth.
The beginning of M&M’s change
Last year, in January of 2022, M&M’s unveiled a new change to their candy characters. In what the company called a “fresh modern take” on their looks. They claimed the new looks gave the six characters “more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.” And for the majority of the public, it wasn’t a big deal. It was hard to even tell the difference between the candies at first. USA Today mentioned the candies’ new design was a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it situation. But the candies did indeed get a change, while it was slight, the female candies changed their shoes. It became a point of contention for a few on social media and Tucker Carlson of Fox News, that buzz began circulating about the candies and their new looks. Enough to the point that the candies have been removed one year later.
Back away or get into a fight
After the upheaval of social media and news buzz about the candies and their newish looks, many started to debate over what the candy company would do to fix the situation and make everyone more comfortable around the candies. CNN talked to Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, who said he believed,
“M&M’s stumbled into a more political debate than they had hoped to…what M&M’S has tried to do over the past few years is to be very inclusive, and to ensure that these characters represent in a positive way… they’ve been quite deliberate in their efforts to do that. I think they desperately didn’t set out to become a target for Fox News… there’s only two ways you really can play it here. Either you have to back away from the characters, or you have to stand up and really get into a fight.”
It seemed like the company picked the first less aggressive choice as they announced Monday that they would be removing the ‘spokescandies’ and replacing them with Maya Rudolph.
A message from M&M’S. pic.twitter.com/EMucEBTd9o
— Ma&Ya’s (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
After the announcement, the candy company rapidly changed. They changed their name, on Twitter at least, to Ma&Ya’s in honor of their new spokesperson and they changed their packaging. They also released an ad about the change and its first ad with their new spokesperson Rudolph.
The company has changed fast though it has received press. Many are speculating was what they wanted – as they announced the news they would be working on a Super Bowl ad and as we know those are expensive maybe they needed buzz to make the ad worth it. Though the company has mentioned they had been trying to work Maya Rudolf into the company for a while – so there is potential that the dramatic switchover could have just been done all at once after the company decided to remove the candies from the company. We will see.
Since the candies’ were forced into retirement a couple have already found alternative jobs. According to Yahoo News, Orange dropped a Spotify playlist and Yellow is attempting to take a stab at a different spokescandy-ship for Snickers after being dropped by M&M’s. Though this in specific has caught part of the conspiracy wave for linking the whole situation to the brands upcoming Super Bowl commercial as Snickers and M&M’s are owned by the same company, Mars.
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Riding the wave
After all the M&M’s drama A&W also took to social media to announce news about their mascot. In a very similarly worded announcement, they announced their mascot, Rooty the Bear would now be wearing pants. Though this turned out to be a joke, confirmed by A&W themselves. In an attempt to ride M&M’s publicity wave with their announcement as the whole thing has a level of ridiculousness.
A message from A&W. pic.twitter.com/WGdF12TSyg
— A&W Restaurants (@awrestaurants) January 24, 2023
Is now a good time to mention this is a joke? 😅
— A&W Restaurants (@awrestaurants) January 25, 2023
After so many brands, like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, the Cleveland Indians, and Washington Redskins all changed their branding for the woke agenda – M&M’s are phased out too. When will the all of it end, candy is candy and this is a classic example of a company going too far and then having to redirect after catching fire.