‘Woke’ M&M fall into indefinite slumber


(Photo courtesy The Drum / Mars)

Ella Mitchell, Editor-in-Chief

Fragility can be defined as: egg shells, the male’s ego and my grandma’s prized plate collection. And, apparently, Mars’ spine because a few long-winded tirades from Fox News are enough for them to call “take backsies” on their whole “inclusivity” spiel. 

It all began on Jan. 20, 2022 when Mars announced changes to their beloved spokescandies in order to their “global commitment to create a world where everyone feels they belong.” This shoe redesign (yes, shoes) was accompanied by profiles written by an ex-AO3-metaverse-fanfiction writer who went a little crazy with personifying the chocolate characters. 

The saga continues — yes, this is a multi-step series of M&M gossip — on Sept. 28, 2022, introducing a new girl on the block, Purple. Who, to the absolute misfortune of modern women everywhere, self-identifies as “quirky.” Purple, along with Green and Brown, popped up again in January of 2023 on M&M’s feminist packaging that “flips” gender norms in a very literal way. Apparently, Mars thought this gravity-defying situation was one small step for M&M and one giant leap for all of womankind. 

Each and every time (yes, there are a lot of them), the internet collectively lost its mind … over M&Ms. Now, let’s get one thing straight (god forbid these candies be anything but that), the M&Ms aren’t weighing on, say, the storage of classified documents or gun protection laws. But, of course, the political right critiqued the candy for being “too woke.” 

Tucker Carlson covered M&Ms more times than an average person actually consumes the candy in their lifetime, enraged by the “lesbian” and “obese” M&M characters; accusations of the feminist packaging was spun into the narrative of Mars working for China; and, of course, there were the slew of tweets and accusations claiming that the M&M characters were indoctrinating our children. 

If everyone’s least favorite Halloween candy is causing your blood pressure to skyrocket so significantly, you have some serious re-evaluation to do. Seriously, why are we collectively wildin’ over this? Be for real.

However, in a breakup-esque statement, starting with, “America, let’s talk,” Mars announced that they are getting rid of the spokescandy all together, because the controversy goes against the brand’s intentions. Instead, they are replacing our beloved melt-proof candy with comedy legend Maya Rudolph, because they didn’t realize that “even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.” 

It’s less that the shoes are polarizing per say, and more of the implication that women have to fit a certain mold in order to be “modern” or “feminist” enough. But, sure, we can chalk it up to the off-brand low top Converse. At the end of the day, however, are these transgressions enough to rationalize sending the seven spokescandies into their tower to wonder when their life will begin? Hell no. 

I can’t say I believe Rudolph is actually going to be a replacement for the spokescandies. Mars. Let’s be honest. You’re a liar, liar, pants on fire. You mean to tell me that you, a company that exists to sell chocolate and make money, haphazardly threw away an absurd amount of money to not only redesign their character’s shoes, introduce a new character (plus music video!) and launch a feminist forward package for absolutely nothing

No way. Objection. If this is true, then I am six-feet-tall. M&Ms might be a lot of things (bland, misguided, attention-crazy), but they most certainly aren’t stupid. Plus, if the brand truly is touting their inclusivity shtick, would they really bow down to a bunch of right-wing slander? No, no they would not. 

A world where everyone feels like they belong is not a world where we bow down to the pressure of the out-of-pocket ramblings of Carlson. In the face of inclusion, it seems highly unlikely that Mars would thumbs up a move to placate the right’s love for sexy chocolates. 

Hear me out, but this is a Mr. Peanut scheme: the sequel. In Super Bowl LIV, Planters unveiled an ad confirming that their spokesperson, Mr. Peanut, died at age 104 in an “ultimate selfless act” to save his friends. #RIPeanut. But then, lo and behold, who waltzes into the Super Bowl spot? Why, it’s Baby Nut, aka the Baby Yoda of peanuts, has graced the eyes of sports ball fans everywhere with his presence. 

The timing of this announcement is too suspect to ignore. Not to mention the fact that M&M has already announced a Super Bowl commercial. 

Picture it: Rudolph enters the screen (in a bad M&M costume?) of American families munching on nachos and wings everywhere and delivers a semi-sarcastic but quippy line about the culture-wars that M&Ms have started. Then, more commercial shenanigans ensue (I don’t write commercials, but I’m sure there will be all sorts of hijinks). This, naturally, is followed by the iconic spokescandies dancing back onto the screen (hopefully with a certain finger wagging at Fox and other dissenters), singing some sort of song about rainbows and belonging before they come back for good.

Buzz created, money made, ba da bing ba de boom! 

I can’t believe I’m saying this (oh how things have changed since my first M&M article), but I want the M&M characters back. The spokescandies will be pursuing their other passions after being told to “take a hike,” but I know I will be anxiously waiting for the Super Bowl to begin with a “set hike.” 

Somehow, inexplicably, I’ve become engrossed in the drama. This is my trashy reality TV-esque fix of pop culture amusement. I miss Green and her go-go boots and attitude. A circular shaped actress is hardly a sufficient replacement for a tried and true Green M&M (I don’t trust you if your favorite is Red). But I suppose we’ll have to make it work … for now.