M&M’S is making a statement with its latest candy pack, featuring an all-female cast of characters — including Purple, its newest addition.
Candy maker Mars has announced that the limited-edition women’s pack will feature only Purple, Brown and Green — a trio of female candy characters that are reversed on the pack — to “celebrate women everywhere who are upending the status quo.” Packages are currently on sale.
Purple, the “spokescandy” announced last year (and the first new M&M’S character in a decade), is a purple peanut M&M. According to the brand, this is a singer who forgoes high heels for lace-up shoes and has a quirky, confident personality.
“The M&M’S brand mission is to harness the power of fun to create purposeful connections as we work to create a world where everyone feels like they belong,” said Gabrielle Wesley, chief marketing officer for Mars Wrigley North America, in a press release. .
The packages come in three varieties: milk chocolate, peanut butter and peanuts. Mars said a portion of the profits will go to organizations that “uplift and empower women,” including She Is The Music and We Are Moving the Needle, nonprofits that support women in the music industry.
This all-female pack quickly sparked an outcry of “culture wars” in the right-wing media, especially Fox News. A pack of feminist attackers, one network anchor said encourages China.
“If that’s what you need for validation, an M&M, which is a color you think is associated with feminism, then I’m worried about you,” host Martha MacCallum said Monday. “I think that’s going to make China say, ‘Oh, well, focus on that. Keep focusing on giving people their own color M&M’S, while we take over all the mineral deposits in the world.’
Even the graphics on the show he called the candy “woke”.
Changes at M&M’S
In addition to adding Purple to the lineup, M&M’S has made other changes to the 82-year-old brand in recent months, including tweaking its logo and giving its six characters new shoes in an effort to modernize the candy.
Green traded her go-go boots for sneakers. Brown sports lower, more sensible heels. The red and yellow shoes now have laces. Orange’s laces are no longer untied. And Blue’s shoes, while little changed, resemble what Anton Vincent, president of Mars Wrigley North America, described as “a bad version of Uggs.”
However, there was an overreaction to Green’s new shoes last year.
An article in the Washington Post declared, “M&M’S changes aren’t progressive. Give Green her shoes back.” In a provocatively titled article, Rolling Stone described the change as “nothing short of tectonic.” Thousands of people have signed a petition to “keep green M&M’s sexy”.
Changes to beloved characters can create a strong response on social media. When Lola Bunny got a new look for the new Space Jam movie, for example, fans were similarly outraged.
Jane Hwang, global vice president of M&M’S, previously told CNN that the response to Green’s change was “unprecedented.”
“We were incredibly impressed,” she added. “We now know for sure that M&M’S is a cultural icon.”
M&M’S has no plans to restore Green’s appearance. “The characters … are constantly evolving to reflect the times we live in,” Hwang said, adding that the brand hopes consumers will “get to know our characters much more than just their footwear.”
— CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.
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