After backlash, M&M’s ditches its iconic ‘spokescandies’ in favor of Maya Rudolph
With the controversial refresh of its cartoon character mascots still causing waves, the Mars-owned candy brand is taking a new direction – beginning with its forthcoming Super Bowl spot.
Maya Rudolph will replace the brand’s famed ‘spokescandies’ for the indefinite future / M&M’s
M&M’s today announced that it’s teaming up with Emmy-winning actress Maya Rudolph, the comedy icon perhaps best known for her role in the 2011 hit Bridesmaids.
The star will front the candy brand’s Super Bowl LVII spot, which will air during the big game on February 12. Mars announced its return to the event on December 22; at the time, the company’s CMO Gabrielle Wesley said: “Mars has delivered some of the most buzz-worthy Super Bowl moments over the years, and we’re inspired by the M&M’s brand being back in the mix in a new way for 2023.”
As M&M’s new brand spokesperson, Rudolph has also been appointed to the cheeky role of ‘Chief of Fun.’ The brand explained in a statement today that, in this role, “Maya will use her comedic talents and captivating personality to help M&M’s build on its mission to create a world where everyone feels they belong.”
Rudolph will replace its legendary ‘spokescandies’ for the time being – M&M’s said in a post shared on social media today that it’s taking “an indefinite pause” from the famed characters, which have been around since 1954.
In the last year, M&M’s has pushed to refresh its brand image, with a range of initiatives focused on putting diversity and inclusivity at the heart of its message. The brand’s overhaul of its ‘spokescandies’ – which included toning down the ‘sexiness’ of the green M&M by swapping her go-go boots for sneakers and the debut of a new purple female character – invited ridicule from the masses.
The brand winked at the controversy in a press release announcing its partnership with Rudolph today, saying, “In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. We weren’t sure if anyone would notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet. But now we get it – even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing. Which was the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together.”
Still, the brand has remained committed to the message – it teamed with rapper Lil Nas X for an inclusivity-minded campaign last May and earlier this month rolled out a program designed to support status quo-shattering women.
With Rudolph, M&M’s feels its brand perception will be in safe hands. Recognizing the ire inadvertently caused by its ‘spokescandies’ makeovers, the brand said in a social media post that Rudolph is a “spokesperson that Americans can agree on.”
“Maya Rudolph ... [has] been entertaining fans for more than two decades with her tongue-in-cheek humor, which makes her the perfect fit to take on the newly created role of M&M’s Chief of Fun to use the power of fun to bring people together,” a brand spokesperson tells The Drum.
For more, sign up for The Drum’s daily US newsletter here.