This is not the first time M&M’s is big news: here’s some context to understand the latest M&Ms controversy. In the beginning of last year, the brand decided to offer a fresh look to their spokescandies committee so as to make them more “current” and “representative of our consumer”, as mentioned by Mars Wrigley Inc. CEO Anton Vincent. This change regards the replacement of M&Ms characters’ footwear.
Male characters’ simple shoes transformed into sneakers, which represents a subtle change, but the changes on ladies’ side created indignation. While the brown M&M’s heels are now lower, the green M&M set aside her go-go boots for sneakers. And this was the final straw, igniting extreme reactions on social media, including controversy and creation of memes. The introduction of the new character Violette, a purple M&M, last September caused the same sort of reactions.
The idea behind was to represent the LGBTQ+ community, and hence bring more inclusivity through the brand. This led to political debates, enlivened by the American TV channel Fox News which blamed the M&M’s brand for being too “woke” and being at the mercy of LGBTQ+ lobbies.
In response to this, a message was published on the M&M’s Instagram account last week. Here’s an extract: “In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. […] And we definitely didn’t think it would break the Internet. But now we get it – even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing. Which was the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together. Therefore, we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies.”
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In the same message, the brand announces that Maya Rudolph, well-known comedian, will take over as M&M’s Chief of Fun. Overall, it seems like M&M’s took advantage of all of this ranting and raving so as to serve the brand’s purpose. It is said that the spokescandies committee – Violette included – will be back during the Super Bowl show, happening next February 13.
M&M’s recently stated that “consumers will ultimately see the story resolve during the Super Bowl, with the characters right where they belong at the heart of the brand”. Seems like the brand has not yet said its last word 😉