M&M’s announced Monday it is putting its iconic characters on an “indefinite pause” and replacing them with actress Maya Rudolph after controversy following its mascot makeover last year.
The brand said it didn’t expect the changes to their “spokescandies,” the colorful cartoon M&M’s mascots, would “break the internet,” noting that “even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.”
“In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies,” M&M’s said in a statement on Twitter. “We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet.”
Early last year, M&M’s gave the mascots more unique personalities and a new look. The brand also introduced a new purple M&M in September meant to represent acceptance and inclusivity.
“We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong,” the brand said. Rudolph confirmed the news in an interview with Today.
M&M’s said Rudolph will be starring in the brand’s upcoming Super Bowl campaign and will assume the role of “Chief of Fun, using her humor and captivating personality to help the brand build on its mission to create a world where everyone feels they belong.”
“While we can’t say much more now, 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 pursuits over the next few weeks,” M&M’s said in an email.
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The rebrand sparked backlash from conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who have criticized the “woke M&M’s.”
As part of the makeover, the green M&M’s notably changed her knee-high heeled boots for sneakers. The brown M&M’s, meanwhile, switched her stilettos for shorter heels.
Carlson lambasted the change in character design last year, saying “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous.”
Tucker: M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous. Until the moment you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal. When you’re totally turned off, we’ve achieved equity… pic.twitter.com/rz7VtVCHWu
— Acyn (@Acyn) January 22, 2022
Being polarizing is “the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together,” the company said. “Therefore, we have decided to take an indefinite pause on the spokescandies.”
It’s not clear how long the pause will last. The brand posted a video on social media Sunday featuring the mascots in celebration of the Lunar New Year.