The controversy is worth its weight in peanuts. M&M’s announced Monday the disappearance, for an indefinite period, of the mascots which served the image of the brand for years. These personifications of chocolate candy with arms, legs and big eyes have been in the sights of the American conservative right for months.
In September, Purple, the purple M&M’s appeared on communication media and candy packs to “represent acceptance and inclusion”. Purple is one of the symbols of feminists and lesbians. Too “woke”, too progressive, for Tucker Carlson, star of Fox News known for his reactionary positions. Already a year ago, he was having a little moral panic attack because Green, the green character, had seen his heeled boots replaced by sneakers. A clothing evolution that made her “less sexy” and would make her “perhaps a lesbian”, he quipped…
At the beginning of January, when the brand marketed a limited edition package containing only the colors of the female characters (green, brown and purple), the controversy was reignited, the same curators not supporting the non-mixing in the candy boxes.
“Even a candy’s shoes can divide”
Monday, M&M’s therefore split a press release expressing his astonishment at having “turned the Internet upside down”. “Even the shoes of a candy can divide,” writes the confectioner. And to add: “It’s the last thing we wanted, because our goal is to bring people together”. The controversial characters are therefore “put on hold for an indefinite time” and replaced by a new muse: Maya Rudolph.
The announcement cheered up Nick Adams, pro-Trump who presents himself on his Twitter account to 480,000 subscribers as an “alpha male”. In a video, he claims that the boycott of the brand is maintained until the company sends a bag of M&M’s and apologizes to “every man”. “In the meantime, not a single M&M’s will pass our lips,” he insisted, saying he was “determined” in this fight.
However, it’s a safe bet that Nick Adams and the other haters of chocolate-coated “wokist” peanuts end up being the turkeys of the stuffing. Several American media have recalled that M&M’s will reveal during the Super Bowl halftime on February 12, a highly anticipated advertising spot.
Maya Rudolph will be there and, when you know the irreverent humor of this actress who made her mark in the Saturday Night Live before turning to the cinema, we can assume that the publicity will not be as consensual as expected. The spot broadcast at the SuperBowl 2021 was thus kindly scratchy – we saw among other things a man offering a packet of M&M’s to a woman to apologize for having mansplained…
It would also be surprising if M&M’s, which has focused its recent communication on values such as inclusion and emancipation, backtracks in this way. The press release published on Twitter shows the colorful characters looking overwhelmed, surprised or jaded… We have seen more serious in terms of crisis communication.
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