Sure, you may have heard about the long-standing controversy over the green M&M and her shoes, but what about the purple M&M?
The ‘spokescandies’ controversy has been raging for the past year, prompted largely by Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson’s comments. In January 2022, Carlson focused his news segment on changes made by M&M’s parent company Mars Incorporated to the spokescandies’ design, the Independent reports.
On January 23, 2023, M&M’s confirmed an indefinite pause was being placed on their spokescandies. That means you’ll no longer see the anthropomorphized chocolate treats on your TV screens. Comedian Maya Rudolph has been selected as the new M&M spokesperson instead.
Let’s take a look at the M&M’s controversy over the years and see how the recent addition, the purple M&M, was roped into all the drama.
M&M’s shoe controversy explained
Last year, candymaker Mars Wrigley announced it was making changes to the design of its M&M’s ‘spokescandies.’
The M&M mascots have been a key feature of the brand’s marketing since 1954. Initially, there were just red and yellow M&M’s but slowly more characters have been brought into the universe. The likes of blue, orange and green arrived in the 1990s, with Ms Brown being introduced decades later, in 2012. Purple is the latest addition to the M&M’s world, announced as part of the family in September 2022.
The inclusion of purple came several months after Mars Wrigley made changes to its mascots’ designs. These new designs were said to be more community-oriented and inclusive, focusing more on the characters’ “personalities, rather than their gender,” as per the Independent’s report.
Key design changes centered on the shoe choices of the green and brown M&M’s. The green M&M’s white go-go boots, which she was given in 1997, were replaced by sneakers. Ms Brown’s high stilettos were replaced with a lower, more casual heel.
Purple M&M roped into long-standing controversy
Despite being the latest addition to the M&M world, the purple mascot hasn’t been safe from all the criticism.
“Designed to represent acceptance and inclusivity, our newest member is known for her earnest self-expression,” Mars Wrigley reportedly wrote in a statement. “Keen self-awareness, authenticity and confidence are the driving forces behind Purple’s charm and quirky nature.”
After the purple M&M mascot debuted, Tucker Carlson once again took aim at the character designs. “Woke M&M’s have returned… there’s also a plus-sized, obese purple M&M.”
Hear what Carlson had to say about the characters below:
Carlson’s comments came in light of Mars Wrigley’s decision to debut an M&M’s promotional wrapper featuring only female mascots. The purple, brown and green M&M’s take center stage on packaging that features slogans such as “Supporting Women.”
Some of the profits from these M&M’s sales will go to organizations supporting a variety of professional pursuits by women.
M&M’s are ‘about bringing people together’
On January 23, 2023, M&M’s announced the brand was taking an “indefinite pause from the spokescandies” after “polarizing” feedback.
“In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies,” the statement reads. “We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet. But now we get it – even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.”
The brand added that causing inadvertent arguments was the “last thing” it wanted, given M&M’s are “all about bringing people together.”