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M&Ms Characters Modern Makeover or M&M Spokescandies Controversy refers to an announcement made by the Mars candy company that the M&M mascots, staples of M&Ms ads for years, would be getting a slight redesign and character tweak to reflect a "more dynamic, progressive world." Notable announced changes include de-emphasizing the green M&M's sexuality, making the brown M&M more of a girlboss and having the orange M&M "acknowledge his anxiety." The announcement was widely mocked online for being overzealously politically correct and led to some humorous defenses of M&M's old characters, particularly for the infamously "sexy" green M&M. Additionally, it was harshly criticized in conservative media, leading to several memorable Tucker Carlson segments. In January of 2023, the company announced it would put a "pause" on its spokescandies, though several suspected the announcement was a PR stunt ahead of the Super Bowl.
On January 20th, 2022, Mars announced via press release that they would be tweaking the M&M mascots' characteristics to reflect a "more dynamic progressive world." These changes included changing the green M&M from a "sexy" archetype to a more "girl power"-oriented character, making Red less antagonistic and turning the brown M&M into a more "girlboss" type character. Mars expressed that the changes will hopefully promote "self-expression and power of community." The company also stated the changes were a part of its "global commitment to creating a world where everyone feels they belong and society is inclusive" and that it hopes to "increase the sense of belonging for 10 million people around the world by 2025." A portion of the press release tweeted by Nathan Allebach is shown below.
The announcement quickly became a topic of discussion on social media, as Twitter users began to mock the redesign as needlessly politically correct. User @aniceburrito joked that the M&Ms had gone woke, gaining over 70 retweets and 1,000 likes (shown below, left). User @HollyBriden joked, "Imagine sitting at a conference table and the boss says, 'We need to make one of the M&Ms less fuckable. Let’s hear your ideas,'" gaining over 70 retweets and 970 likes (shown below, right).
There was also a significant amount of ironic backlash to the idea of the green M&M becoming less sexy. Rolling Stone posted a tongue-in-cheek article titled "Let the Green M&M Be a Nasty Little Slut" in which they argued in favor of the green M&M's sexual personality. The Green M&M in particular became the subject of memes on Twitter. For example, user @dantnty posted the Debimboification image with regards to the green M&M, gaining over 370 retweets and 3,500 likes (shown below, left). User @psychic_pussy69 posted a screenshot of a Change.org petition to give the green M&M her "sexy boots" back, gaining over 9,000 retweets and 91,000 likes (shown below, right).
Furthermore, several Twitter users pointed out that at the same time, Mars Incorporated, the company which owns the M&Ms trademark, was facing lawsuits for alleged child slavery in their cocoa plantations, accusing its marketing team of using the mascot makeover as a diversion.
Miserable, Non-binary Candy Is All We Deserve
Tucker: M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous. Until the moment 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… pic.twitter.com/rz7VtVCHWu— Acyn (@Acyn) January 22, 2022
While the segment attracted mockery as Carlson complained about how he "wouldn't want to have a drink" with any of the new M&Ms, many began joking about the chyron, which read, "Miserable, non-binary candy is all we deserve." The image of the chyron went viral on Twitter, with many users joking that they identified as a "miserable, non-binary candy."
rt this if you are also miserable non-binary candy https://t.co/X6j7wsFSjT
— ✧･ﾟ: Val :･ﾟ✧ (@Va1tiel) January 22, 2022
“Miserable, non-binary candy” describes most of my mutuals pic.twitter.com/nV2R1Rlzv0— Kayla 💛 (@kobcritic_) January 24, 2022
Supposed "Pause" On Spokescandies
On January 23rd, 2023, M&Ms announced in a tweet it would put an indefinite "pause" on the use of their spokescandies due to the backlash and make Maya Rudolph the spokeswoman of the brand.
A message from M&M'S. pic.twitter.com/EMucEBTd9o— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
Reactions to the announcement were mixed, as many felt it was cowardly for Mars to apparently give in to the backlash. However, many suspected that the "pause" was in fact a set-up for a Super Bowl ad campaign, similar to when Planters "killed" Mr. Peanut ahead of introducing Baby Nut at the Super Bowl.
This is a work for sure. There’s gonna be a Super Bowl ad where we see all the M&Ms out of work and desperate to be rehired and/or protesting their firing. This is a Planters Baby Nut situation. https://t.co/R2Sudymrx4— austin walker (@austin_walker) January 23, 2023