Layoffs are hitting the confectionary industry: M&M’s announced yesterday that it’s sending its colorful cast of candy characters into “indefinite” retirement.
In explaining why it cut its “spokescandies,” brand owner Mars didn’t point to a looming recession or hiring too many candy spokespeople during the pandemic. It appears these characters became too much of a PR headache for the company over criticism that they had lost their sex appeal.
The backstory: Last year, M&M’s began to make changes to its candy spokespeople to be more “representative of the customer” and to keep up with cultural trends—for instance, by replacing the green M&M’s high heels with sneakers.
To some right-wing commentators, these changes reflected the “woke” movement’s hijacking of American culture. Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been the most vocal critic of the M&M’s makeover, saying on his show last January that “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.”
In its statement, a defeated-sounding M&M’s acknowledged “even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing.” It said it will replace its spokescandies with former SNL star Maya Rudolph.—NF