M&M’S decided to take a step back from its candy reps after causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a new Purple M&M in honor of International Women’s Day.
The chocolate candy brand said in a statement Monday, “In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokes candies. We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet.”
Since the changes were so polarizing, Mars has decided to take a break from spokes candies. Instead, the brand has tapped comedian and actress Maya Rudolph to represent the product.
During the Super Bowl, Rudolph will appear in an advertisement for M&M’s. In December, Mars announced that it would run an advertisement during the game. Some online speculated that the announcement was part of the brand’s Super Bowl campaign, while others criticized it for bowing to pressure. It was even Merriam-Webster that tweeted that “spokes candies” was not in the dictionary.
Last year, M&M unveiled a new look for all of its anthropomorphized chocolate characters to make them more relevant to young consumers.
The majority of the updates were subtle. In contrast, a change in Green’s shoes caused outrage on social media, with many remarking on how the character had lost his signature style. It has garnered over 20,000 signatures to “keep the green M&M sexy.” While M&M’S didn’t listen to the plea, the company noted in a statement on Monday that “even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.” This “was the last thing M&M’S wanted since we’re all about bringing people together,” the statement added.
And then, in September, M&M’S announced another change: A new female character, Purple, was joining the lineup (but not actual bags of candy) in another effort to make the group of spokes candies more inclusive. Purple was recently deployed as part of a limited-edition pack of purple, brown, and green M&M’S — the colors of the female spokes candies — in honor of International Women’s Day.
That move prompted another round of criticism.
Jane Hwang, Global Vice President of M&M’S, previously told CNN that the reaction to Green’s change was “unprecedented” and that “we were incredibly overwhelmed.”
But, she said at the time, “now we know for certain that M&M’S is a cultural icon.”