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M&M’s retires ‘polarizing spokescandies’ in favor of new Chief of Fun Maya Rudolph

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Over the years, iconic button-shaped chocolates M&M’s adverts have been some of the most recognizable ones in history, and that is largely thanks to its so-called “spokescandies.” These are the mascots personifying the candies which has appeared all the way back to the brand’s earliest commercials in the 1950s.

The succeeding commercials down to the recent ones have sealed the spokescandies as mainstays in the brand’s marketing campaigns: from Christmas spots, introduction of new flavors, and a 2018 Superbowl ad starring Danny DeVito.

The latest announcement from the brand has pushed the iconic characters out of the picture and introduces comedian Maya Rudolph as the replacement “Chief of Fun.” This happened following a year of controversy over a costume change decision which “can be polarizing,” said M&M’s in a statement.

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In September 2022, the brand introduced its first character in a decade, Purple, designed to represent acceptance and inclusivity. Complete with her own music video made in collaboration with saxophonist Grace Kelly, dance and choreography masters Devin Santiago and Colo Cag, celebrated opera singer Anthony Roth Costanzo.

“Imagine a world with less judgment & more connection & consistent laughter,” reads its page on brand purpose: for all “funkind.”

Early that year, Fox news anchor Tucker Carlson had expressed disappointment over the brand’s move to change its female characters’ footwear.

 

“The other big change is that the brown M&M has “transitioned from high stilettos to lower block heels,” also less sexy, that’s progress.”

While the tirade has inspired numerous memes and the brand’s response much ire on Twitter, M&M’s has yet to deliver on its dramatic change. After all, the spokescandies are beloved characters which have their very own dedicated bios, by the way.

Purple’s introduction as the opening of a new chapter for the brand can still hold true. In a dated statement, Jane Hwang, Global Vice President at Mars Wrigley, said, “Our purpose story is just getting started and the introduction of our newest M&M’s spokescandy is the next chapter, as the brand continues to delight fans with fun in a way only M&M’s can.”

It’s also noteworthy that after its decision to let go of Green’s hot boots, M&M’s released a Tweet seemingly unbothered by the mixed reactions.

Whether it’s an attempt to make the brand all grown-up or a genuine move in a new direction, fans can look to the upcoming Superbowl in February to see just how far M&M’s will go to reinvent itself and its relationship with the public – or if it’s yet another case of a brand’s gimmick to draw public attention. 

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