ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

M&M benches spokescandies for Maya Rudolph

Jan 24, 2023, 4:41 PM
After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a special bag featuring its new Pu...
FILE: View of the M&M's anthropomorphized candy characters that have gotten a redesigned look, stamped on a retail store purchase container, New York, NY, January 21, 2022. Brown M&M character has been designed with feminine high heels and Green M&M receiving boots. (Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images via CNN)
(Anthony Behar/Sipa USA via AP Images via CNN)
Originally Published: 23 JAN 23 12:47 ET
Updated: 23 JAN 23 13:51 ET

(CNN) — After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a special bag featuring its new Purple character in honor of International Women’s Day, M&M’S says it is taking a step back from its candy reps — sort of.

“In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies,” the chocolate candy brand said in a statement Monday. “We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet.”

The brand added that the changes were so polarizing that “we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies.” Mars has tapped comedian and actress Maya Rudolph to represent the product instead.

“We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong,” M&M’S, which is owned by Mars, said in a statement Monday.

The partnership with Rudolph has been “in the works for a while,” said Gabrielle Wesley, chief marketing officer for Mars Wrigley North America, in a statement emailed to CNN.

“There are lots of stories out there but let me say conclusively that this decision isn’t a reaction to but rather is in support of our M&M’S brand,” Wesley said. “The original colorful cast of M&M’S spokescandies are, at present, pursuing other personal passions.”

That doesn’t mean the brand is ditching the candy characters: “We will share more on the spokescandies new pursuits over the next few weeks,” a spokesperson told CNN.

Rudolph will appear in an M&M’S Super Bowl commercial. Mars announced in December that it would run an ad during the game. Online, some guessed right away that the announcement was part of a Super Bowl campaign, while others criticized the brand for bowing to pressure. Even Merriam Webster weighed in, tweeting that “spokescandies” is not in the dictionary.

M&M’S sparks controversy

Last year, M&M’S unveiled a new look for all of its anthropomorphized chocolate characters to make them more relevant to young consumers.

Most of the updates were subtle. But the change to Green’s shoes, from go-go boots to sneakers, caused outrage on social media, with many bemoaning the loss of the character’s signature look. A petition to “keep the green M&M sexy” garnered over 20,000 signatures. (M&M’S didn’t heed the plea, but did note in its statement on Monday that “even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing,” adding that “was the last thing M&M’S wanted since we’re all about bringing people together.”)

And then in September, M&M’S announced another change: A new female character, Purple, was joining the lineup (but not actual bags of candy) in another effort to make the group of spokescandies more inclusive. Purple was recently deployed as part of a limited-edition pack of purple, brown and green M&M’S — the colors of the female spokescandies — in honor of International Women’s Day.

That move prompted another round of criticism.

“If this is what you need for validation, an M&M that is the color that you think is associated with feminism, then I’m worried about you,” Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum said, adding that the move emboldened China. “I think that makes China say, ‘Oh, good, keep focusing on that. Keep focusing on giving people their own color M&M’S while we take over all of the mineral deposits in the entire world.'”

A graphic on a Fox show even called the candy “woke.”

Jane Hwang, Global Vice President of M&M’S, previously told CNN that the reaction to Green’s change was “unprecedented” and that “we were incredibly overwhelmed.”

But, she said at the time, “now we know for certain that M&M’S is a cultural icon.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Arts + Entertainment

For the second year, Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will be hosting “My BeUTAHful” art competitio...
Elizabeth Weiler

Win a UTA pass, art supplies and gift cards in student art competition

For the second year, Utah Transit Authority (UTA) will be hosting “My BeUTAHful” art competition. From now until March 20, students k-12 may submit their original art following the theme "Imagine + Lead + Change".
1 day ago
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 03: Grammy trophies sit in the press room during the 64th Annual GRAMMY A...
Marianne Garvey, CNN

How to watch the 2023 Grammy Awards: Time, channels and more

The biggest night in music is here with the 65th Grammy Awards on Sunday. If you want to see Harry Styles, Lizzo and more perform, here's how to tune in.
2 days ago
FILE - Motown's Barrett Strong arrives at the induction ceremony for 35th annual National Academy o...
CNN

Barrett Strong, Motown singer and songwriter, dead at 81

   (CNN) — Barrett Strong, the voice and songwriter behind Motown Records’ first hit, has died, according to a post from The Motown Museum. He was 81. “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of legendary @classicmotown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong. The voice behind @motownrecords’ first hit, the iconic “Money (That’s What […]
8 days ago
January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the ...
Waverly Golden

Utah’s Hogle Zoo “Cats and Cocoa” event

January 28 at Uta's Hogle Zoo is its Cats and Cocoa event, where families can learn more about the endangered cats of the zoo.
11 days ago
KSL Newsradio's Park City correspondent Joe Davis says Slamdance showcases important independent fi...
Mark Jackson

The Slamdance Film Festival; a fun, quirky alternative to Sundance

The Slamdance Film Festival offers an alternative to the Sundance Film Festival. The event screens movies through Jan 26.
13 days ago
Senator Mike Lee is among those working on an amendment to protect religious liberties in The Respe...
Aimee Cobabe

Sen. Lee quotes Taylor Swift lyrics during Ticket Master/Live Nation hearing

Who knew Sen. Mike Lee is a swiftie? The senator quoted Taylor Swift lyrics multiple times at a senate committee hearing Tuesday.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
M&M benches spokescandies for Maya Rudolph