Mars, the parent company of the popular chocolate candy M&M's, has announced the release of a special edition of M&M's that features an "all-female" cast, including a new Purple character designed to promote inclusivity. This move has garnered criticism from some who view it as the company trying to appeal to the "woke" agenda.
The special edition "all-female" M&M's packages will differ visually from traditional M&M's packages, making it easy for consumers to distinguish between the two. The "all-female" packages will only contain three colors of M&M's: brown, green, and the new Purple character.
M&M's had previously hinted at the possibility of adding a new color to its lineup, and asked fans to vote on which color they preferred. After the votes were counted, purple emerged as the winner, defeating pink and aqua.
The introduction of the new Purple character to the M&M's lineup means there is now a new member of the cartoon cast, each of whom has a distinct personality. Purple is described as being "quirky, confident, and authentic," and has been introduced as a way to promote inclusivity. She is the first female peanut M&M and has been celebrated by some as a body positive representation. Purple made her official debut in an ad on Tuesday, in which she walks around the backstage of a theater and sings a song called "I'm Just Gonna Be Me."
Jane Hwang, Global VP at Mars Wrigley, commented on the introduction of Purple by saying, "There is so much about our new spokescandy that people can relate to and appreciate, including her willingness to embrace her true self. Our new character reminds us to celebrate what makes us unique."
In addition to the new Purple character, the "all-female" M&M's package will also feature Green and Brown, who are traditionally depicted as female characters. Green has been given a less feminine appearance and has swapped her high heels for sneakers. Brown, who previously wore more pointed high heels, has also toned down her sex appeal and now wears lower, square-shaped heels. Despite these changes, Brown maintains the tagline "Not bossy. Just the boss."
The "all-female" M&M's packages, which will be available in milk chocolate, peanut, and peanut butter varieties, will feature a limited color palette and will feature an upside-down image of the characters on the packaging to symbolize how women are "flipping how they define success."
Mars Wrigley North America Chief Marketing Officer Gabrielle Wesley commented on the release of the "all-female" M&M's packages by saying "Women all over the world are flipping how they define success and happiness while challenging the status quo, so we’re thrilled to be able to recognize and celebrate them. And who better to help us on that mission than our own powerhouse spokescandies Green, Brown, and Purple?"
Mars has pledged to donate up to $500,000 to organizations "She Is The Music" and "We Are Moving the Needle" which support female musicians, as well as an additional $300,000 to other non-profits dedicated to supporting women, according to Fox News. This commitment aims to demonstrate the company's dedication to supporting and promoting women.
The release of the special edition "all-female" M&M's packages, which includes a focus on promoting inclusivity and supporting female musicians, may be perceived by some consumers as an unnecessary attempt to infuse a socio-political message into the purchase of candy. However, this move may not be unexpected, as Mars' new CEO, Poul Weihrauch, has encouraged the brand to adapt to a "more dynamic, progressive world."
In 2017, a tweet from M&M's went viral due to a suggestion that Green and Brown, two female characters, were in a lesbian relationship. The tweet featured a picture of the two characters sitting on a bench, with Green's hand placed on Brown's lap. The caption read "It’s rare Ms. Brown and I get to spend time together without some colorful characters barging in."
It’s rare Ms. Brown and I get to spend time together without some colorful characters barging in. – Ms. Green pic.twitter.com/hnoktsAgAW
— M&M'S (@mmschocolate) June 28, 2015
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