Feminist M&M advertising campaign accused of reverse sexism

It is safe to say that we have all seen M&M’s commercials and can recognize the popular animated mascots of the brand. However, things are changing, and those spokescandies we have followed for decades are now being removed from advertising indefinitely. How did this start? Shockingly, a lot has led to this decision made by the Mars company.

What sparked this discussion was the companies choice to change the designs of their M&M’s, more specifically switching out Green’s go-go boots with a pair of white canvas sneakers and Brown’s stilettos with a pair of shorter heels. This caused an internet uproar, led mostly by conservatives.

Tucker Carlson, an anchor on Fox News, reported on this design change, saying, “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous. Until the moment you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them.” Looking at this statement, one needs to consider the base of this idea. Carlson is upset because an anthropomorphic piece of candy is not “sexy” anymore.

If that was not enough, last September the Mars company introduced a third female M&M, Purple. The Purple M&M is a musician and sports white combat boots. Upon her release, conservatives had more to say. Based on the assumption that the Purple M&M may be transgender, the candy was labeled “woke.”

On top of that, Martha MacCallum, another anchor on Fox News, mentioned that China is laughing at the idea of us being distracted by what color M&M we identify with while they take over mineral deposits. What was really interesting about that insight was that she seemed concerned about issues with China, and yet took the time to report on M&M’s anyway.

The true catalyst for the decision was the release of an all-women packet of M&M’s meant to promote female empowerment in the music industry. A portion of the profits made off of these packets was to be donated to the nonprofit organizations She Is The Music (SITM) and We Are Moving the Needle (WAMN). Both organizations focus on cultivating women’s careers in the music industry, including songwriting, engineering and especially producing. Production struggles with an underrepresentation of women, and both organizations want to change that.

However, once this packet was released, there was criticism that included calling M&M’s sexist. Nick Adams, known on Twitter with the subtitle “Alpha Male,” posted a tweet demanding the Mars company to apologize to men. Since then, these packets have been removed from sale and Mars has issued a statement explaining that they will be taking an indefinite pause with the M&M’s spokescandies, and instead Maya Rudolph will be their spokesperson.

This entire debacle has been dragged on too much for the base of what the content is. At the end of the day, the bottom line of this whole situation is that M&M’s are candy. The Mars company is trying to sell you their chocolate. To raise such an issue over the actions of a chocolate company sounds absurd when you say it out loud. Just don’t buy the candy.

The Mars company was trying to do something helpful for women in the music industry. Plus, most of Mars’ campaigns have been led by male characters. In a video of the top fifty funniest M&M’s commercials, seventeen of them included Green or Brown, or both. A majority of the commercials only included Red and Yellow. On top of that, for the commercials introducing new types of M&M’s like pretzel or caramel, new flavor twists were represented by male characters. Meanwhile, the Green M&M remained the only woman for 15 years until they finally introduced Brown in 2012.

To raise an issue about a single M&M’s campaign solely because it focuses attention on characters that never get the spotlight they deserve is asinine. Overall, there has been a drastic change in the way M&M’s will now advertise solely because people overreacted about their cartoon characters. I will remain a fan of the brand, and as I finish this article, I want you to know that I am snacking on some dark chocolate M&M’s. You should give them a try.



Photo courtesy of Evan Amos, Wikipedia