M&M’s spokecandies take ‘indefinite pause’ amid polarizing rebrand

    M&M’s will take an “indefinite pause” from its spokescandies, per a statement posted on Instagram. In their place, the Mars Wrigley candy brand has made actress Maya Rudolph its new spokesperson and “Chief of Fun,” per details shared with Marketing Dive. Rudolph’s first appearance with the brand will be in its upcoming Super Bowl LVII campaign. The spokescandies will “step away to pursue other passions.”

    M&M’s decision to move away from its spokecandies in its marketing represents a major shift in strategy for the candy brand, which has worked to highlight themes of inclusion and diversity since first rebranding its line of colorful mascots last January. 

    While the move could prove to be a playful misdirect to build buzz for its Super Bowl spot, it seems doubtful that the brand would toy so directly with the controversy that the rebrand has drawn, mostly from conservative commentators who view the changes to the candies as a paean to so-called “wokeness.”

    “America, let’s talk. In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokecandies. 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. Which was the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together,” reads a statement on the brand’s Instagram.

    As part of the shift in strategy, M&M’s have tapped actress Maya Rudolph as a new brand spokesperson who is set to appear in the brand’s previously announced Super Bowl spot. Press materials in December that revealed Mars’ Super Bowl plans included a silhouette of the spokecandies on a football field, suggesting that the mascots were initially part of the big game spot. Mars Wrigley sat out Super Bowl LVI in 2022. 

    The Mars Wrigley candy launched the rebrand of its spokescandies in January 2022, highlighting inclusivity, belonging and the “nuanced personalities” of the characters. The rebrand proved polarizing, but the brand was undeterred, doubling down on purpose and introducing a Purple spokescandy in September. The brand this January began selling candy packs that exclusively feature its female brand mascots, drawing fresh ire from conservative commentators.

    When introducing Purple, M&M’s seemed to take the controversy in stride, noting how the rebrand drove media impressions and brand sentiment. Jessica Adelman, vice president for corporate affairs and head of global communications at Mars Wrigley, told Marketing Dive that the attention proved how iconic its brand was.

    “People are always going to have reactions — it means you’re relevant, it means you’re in the conversation — and having a purpose helps you to really be clear and true about what motivates you and what your reason to be in the consumer space is,” Adelman said.

    Editor’s note: This story is developing and will be updated.


    Latest articles

    Related articles