In a whiplash-inducing marketing turnaround so quick many consumers probably hadn’t even been aware of the initial halt, the M&M’s “spokescandies” made their return after Super Bowl LVII while appearing to acknowledge the error of kowtowing to progressives.
The Mars, Incorporated produced M&M’s were featured in two separate spots Sunday, culminating in the varied candy characters appearing to hold their own post-game press conference mentioning their return. The brief 15-second spot began with the iconic Red stating as flashbulbs went off, “I can’t believe we were actually put on ‘pause.'”
As previously reported, Mars had announced in late January that there would be an indefinite suspension of the familiar candies due to “polarizing” decisions made by the company’s marketing team.
Their statement read in part, “America, let’s talk. In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. 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.”
That announcement included a reveal that Saturday Night Live alum Maya Rudolph would be taking over as spokesperson. In the time between then and Sunday, the comedian was featured in a series of spots that had her announcing faux brand changes that included her name and face on the candies that would also now be clam flavored.
This led to her own game day commercial with newly-rebranded “MaYa’s” being enjoyed by nobody and a brief cameo appearance by Red holding up a sign saying, “Help!”
Despite claiming to be getting away from the ideologically driven changes in their marketing, Mars appeared to be leaning into it while the candies were on hiatus as the characters were featured in a number of cross-promotional ads exploring new career directions for the candy-coated chocolates such as an eBay seller or sports broadcaster.
We’re pleased to see the spokescandies are exploring their passions. pic.twitter.com/2p7AYfT2zJ
— M&M’S (@mmschocolate) February 10, 2023
Cheddar News and Zappos got in on the gimmick too ahead of Sunday when Orange could be heard saying during the promo, “Am I anxious about being back? Does it seem like I am?”
After all that, the campaign that ended with the tagline “they’re back for good…for all funkind,” also featured Purple continuing to “embrace her true self,” as Mars Wrigley Global Vice President Jane Hwang had once put it or, as ComicBook had asserted, fulfilling the design to “represent inclusivity and acceptance with the character known for self-expression, self-awareness, authenticity, and confidence all as part of her charm.”
“The character,” they continued, “is set to ‘help more people feel they belong.'”
As Purple said in the advertisement, “I’m glad to be back because this is what I was made for. I mean, as a walking talking candy, my options are pretty limited.”
Responses to the move included a number of social media users pleased with the continued appearance of corporate activism from the candy company while others perceived the return as a victory in the culture war to be exploited toward gaining further ground.
They’re still #queer and #polyamorous though, right?
— Frances Yasmeen Motiwalla (@FrancesYasmeen) February 13, 2023
Ok, characters back… ✔️ Now we just need you to sponsor @KyleBusch in at least a few @NASCAR races every year so we can keep the gang together!! It won’t be the same without the M&Ms car (or truck) on track. Come back to #RowdyNation where you belong. ❤
— Christine Slaght (@mominater2) February 13, 2023
Put the green one back in high heels!
— phil (@phil25891941) February 13, 2023
did all that for nobody to see it
— hannyyyy Ψ (@hannwannbanan) February 13, 2023
I am so confused
— millicent (@meltroutkids) February 13, 2023
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