Ever looked at a bag of M&Ms and thought, ‘I feel excluded’? Are you unable to enjoy that delicious candy-covered chocolate because you don’t see yourself represented in its mascots?
But not to fear, an M&Ms rebrand is here whether we needed it or not. This week, Mars, Inc. unveiled a woke overhaul of its multi-coloured character cast to better promote themes like inclusivity, mental health and female empowerment.
On the brand’s refurbished website, M&Ms explained that their mission is to “create a world where everyone feels they belong”. According to The Hill, the brand is proud of its “updated tone of voice that is more inclusive, welcoming, and unifying, while remaining rooted in our signature jester, wit and humour.”
Humour will be the real test. As comedians like John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson have famously pointed out, wokery tends to suck the life out of humour.
Since the mid-1990s when the chocolate mascots first became 3D, M&Ms has built a very successful brand. Their TV commercials humorously riffed on the theme of cannibalism and created elaborate adventures for the characters as new candy products were introduced. For years, M&Ms ads have been a Super Bowl staple.
The brand has a lot to lose.
M&Ms global vice president Jane Hwang was interviewed by Cheddar News this week about the woke transition. “As an iconic brand that’s been around for over 80 years, it’s really important that we’re evolving over time as well, and one of the most powerful ways we can do that is through our beloved characters,” she said, pointing to their “new looks, personalities and backstories.”
The mascots to undergo the biggest transformations are Orange and Green.
“We actually know Orange as the most relatable of the characters in the crew based on some conversations we’ve had with Gen Z, which we know is the most anxious generation,” Hwang explained. As of this week, Orange will suffer from anxiety in an effort to better connect with young people. Hwang said that Orange will “really embrace his true self, worries and all, and not be afraid to express it.”
Green, meanwhile, has become a feminist activist. On the website, Green’s bio describes her “best quality” as “being a hypewoman for my friends”. It reads, “I think we all win when we see more women in leading roles, so I’m happy to take on the part of supportive friend when they succeed.” As part of this makeover, Green has ditched her go-go boots and seductive strut for a pair of sneakers.
While some praised M&Ms for the woke rebrand, others were less enthusiastic. “M&Ms are not only fictional, but also literally a rainbow, and yet still they are apparently not diverse enough,” tweeted media personality Lauren Chen.
Not one to miss a headline, The Babylon Bee weighed in with a satirical piece titled, M&Ms Introduces New Trans Character Who Identifies As A Skittle.
Among the wittier commentary was a tweet that quipped, “BREAKING: Peanut M&Ms will now be allowed to identify as Plain M&Ms without having to relinquish their nuts.”
On a more serious note, some drew attention to longstanding ethical concerns at Mars that hide behind the fun facade. Hillel Neuer, Executive Director at United Nations Watch, wrote, “@MarsGlobal to make M&Ms ‘more inclusive’ as it sponsors the Beijing 2022 Uyghur Genocide Olympics.”
Another comment read, “Y’all should worry more that you can only guarantee 24 per cent of the chocolate you buy didn’t come from child slave labour,” drawing attention to a recent Washington Post article about Mars’ use of child labour in Africa.
As is now customary in the woke revolution, looking good has more appeal than actually doing good. But is that what M&Ms customers are looking for?
Nope. Millennials are looking for something more radical. All we have now is chocolate M&Ms and peanut M&Ms. So binary. So boring. M&Ms should go broke for woke. What I’d like to see is M&Ms that identify as broccoli and parsnips and brussels sprouts. That’s what I call inclusivity.