The M&M's Spokescandies Controversy Rages On

The M&M's slogan once said, "It melts in your mouth, not in your hands" (via MoMA Learning). But recently, the classic candy has had quite the controversy on its hands. Trouble first brewed when Mars shifted the shoe design of its green M&M mascot from high-heeled go-go boots to similar sneakers to ones the other "spokescandies" wear in 2022, to appeal to what the company called a "more dynamic, progressive world" (via CBS News).

Insider reports that the spokescandies were spawned to stop a sales slump in the 1990s. The green character first sported boots in 1997, which Snopes says was a direct response to a widespread urban legend that green M&M's were aphrodisiacs. But since then, "Ms. Green" has been maligned for being over-sexualized, hence the wardrobe change. Likewise, the brown M&M's high heels were lowered, and a purple M&M was introduced

Mars' moves drew intense criticism from Fox News TV host Tucker Carlson, who called the updated female spokescandies "woke," "less sexy," "unappealing," and "distinctively frumpy" in the case of the purple character (via NPR and CNET). So Mars has taken drastic measures. Or has it?

The spokescandies are being replaced by a human

In a Jan. 23 Twitter post, M&M's said, "We have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies. In their place, we are proud to introduce a spokesperson America can agree on: Maya Rudolph." With her memorable "Saturday Night Live" background, there's little doubt Rudolph will bring her personality to one of the country's most iconic candies. However, some skeptics question Mars' true intentions. Is the company backpedaling out of deeper division or just capitalizing on the attention? 

The world will get some answers soon, as it's been teased that Rudolph, crowned the M&M's "Chief of Fun," will star in a 2023 Super Bowl advertisement. As The New York Times reports, the controversial spokescandies are also slated to appear. 

Fans' speculation about a possible marketing ploy appears to be valid, too. A representative from Mars emailed the Times, "Rest assured, the characters are our official long-term spokescandies." The spokesperson added that they'd soon resume their rightful places "where they belong at the heart of the brand." The mascots' hiatus won't be forever — and M&M's will continue to make history.