M&M’s has announced it will ditch its iconic “spokescandy” characters after a bizarre backlash from a far-right political commentator.
The colourful characters have featured in the chocolate brand’s advertisements since the 1950s.
But after the brand decided to update its mascots in 2022 it was hit by a barrage of criticism from the far-right in the US.
The brand moved last year to make the characters more inclusive, designed to fit a “more dynamic, progressive world”.
Most notably, it made the green M&M less “sexy” by shortening her legs, and replacing her high heels with sneakers.
It also shortened the heels worn by the brown M&M, lowering them from high-heeled pumps to shorter block heels.
The decision angered far-right Fox talkshow host Tucker Carlson, who discussed the rebrand on his show a year ago.
“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,” Carlson said.
Since then, the M&M’s characters have bizarrely become a hotly contested topic in far-right spaces online.
Outrage reignited earlier this month when the brand announced it would release special-edition packs of the sweets in support of women.
The packages were intended to display the words “Supporting Women”, and feature the brand’s female spokescandies: Brown, Green and Purple.
But on Tuesday, the Mars-owned sweet revealed its spokescandies were going on “an indefinite pause”.
“America, let’s talk. In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice,” the statement read.
“And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet. But now we get it – even a candy’s shoes can be polarising. Which was the last thing M&M’s wanted, since we’re all about bringing people together.”
Carlson addressed the announcement in a rambling response on his Monday evening broadcast, taking aim at CNN and other news outlets, which he said were “infuriated” by the marketing pivot.
“It made you wonder if all these people are secretly being paid for flack for corporate America,” Carlson said.
“Probably not [but] they just can’t stand the fact that candy isn’t political.”
Not only did the M&M’s brand shock by abandoning its beloved spokescandies, but it also announced an unlikely new spokesperson.
The brand’s new ‘Chief of Fun’ is none other than Bridesmaids actor Maya Rudolph.
“We are confident Ms Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong,” the brand said in its statement.
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While the brand said Rudolph was a spokesperson “America can agree on”, many were left confused by the big reveal.
“I want the spokescandies back! Maya is cool, but she ain’t no spokescandy…” one follower said in the comments.
“Look I love Maya but no. BRING BACK THE M&Ms!!!!” another added.
One follower said they simply “don’t understand”.
Other followers wondered if it could all be a publicity stunt before a Super Bowl advertisement.
The Super Bowl is as well known, if not more, for its half-time performances (this year starring Rihanna) and a plethora of high-budget advertisements.
Mars announced in December that it would run an ad during the game in Glendale, Arizona, on February 12.
There has been no confirmation on whether Rudolph will appear in M&M’s Super Bowl ad, but it looks like a real possibility.
Although many fans will be waiting for any Super Bowl shenanigans, others pointed out that rapper Eminem would have been a fitting choice as spokesperson.
“Of all the people you guys could have chosen for your spokesperson why did you pick Maya Rudolph when Eminem is literally right there,” one comment read.
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