After a backlash over its mascot makeover last year, M&M’s announced Monday that it is putting its iconic characters on “indefinite hold” and replacing them with actress Maya Rudolph.
The company stated that it did not expect the changes to their “spokescandies,” the colourful cartoon M&M’s mascots, to “break the internet,” adding that “even a candy’s shoes can be polarising.”
“We’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies in the last year,” M&M’s said in a Twitter statement. “We didn’t know if anyone would notice. And we certainly didn’t expect it to break the internet.”
M&M’s gave the mascots new personalities and a new look early last year. In September, the company also debuted a new purple M&M to represent acceptance and inclusivity.
“We are confident that Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels like they belong,” said the brand. In an interview with Today, Rudolph confirmed the news.
Rudolph will star in M&M’s upcoming Super Bowl campaign as the “Chief of Fun,” using her humour and captivating personality to help the brand build on its mission of creating a world where everyone feels they belong.
“While we can’t say much more for the time being, fans should keep an eye on M&M’S social media channels and MMS.com to see more of Maya’s journey, and we will share more on the spokescandies’ new endeavours over the next few weeks,” M&M’s said in an email.
Conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, have criticised the rebranding as “woke M&M’s.”
The green M&M’s changed her knee-high heeled boots for sneakers as part of the makeover. Meanwhile, the brown M&M’s changed her stilettos for shorter heels.
Last year, Carlson slammed the change in character design, saying, “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and completely androgynous.”
Being divisive is “the last thing M&M’s wanted because we’re all about bringing people together,” according to the company. “As a result, we’ve decided to put the spokescandies on hold indefinitely.”
It is unknown how long the pause will last. In honour of the Lunar New Year, the brand shared a video on social media featuring the mascots on Sunday.