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 announced that the all-female limited edition pack will feature only Purple, Brown and Green, the candy’s trio of female characters, who are upside down on the pack, to “celebrate women everywhere who are changing the status quo.” The packs 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, she is a singer who forgoes high heels for lace-up boots and has a quirky and confident personality.
“The M&M’S brand is on a mission to use the power of fun to create purposeful connections, as we work to create a world where everyone feels like they belong,” Gabrielle Wesley, director of marketing for Mars Wrigley North America, said in a statement of press .
The packages come in three options: milk chocolate, peanut butter, and peanut. Mars said a portion of the proceeds will go to organizations that “love and empower women,” including She Is The Music and We Are Moving the Needle, nonprofits that support women in the music industry.
The all-female pack quickly sparked “culture wars” outrage in the right-wing media, most notably Fox News. A network anchor said the feminist vanguard package embolden China.
“If that’s what you need for validation, an M&M that’s the color you think is associated with feminism, then I’m worried about you,” host Martha MacCallum said Monday. “I think that makes China say, ‘Oh, well, keep focusing on this.’ Continue to focus on giving people their own M&M’S color while we take care of all the mineral deposits around the world.”
A chart in a program even he called the candy “woke up.”
Changes to 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 attempt to modernize the candy.
Green has traded in his go-go boots for sneakers. Brown wears lower, more sensitive heels. Red and yellow shoes now have laces. Orange shoelaces no longer come 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 op-ed in the Washington Post declared “M&M’S changes aren’t progressive. Put the boots back on Green.” In a provocatively titled article, Rolling Stone described the shift as “nothing short of tectonic.” Thousands of people have signed a petition to “keep M&M’s sexy green”.
Changes to beloved characters can cause 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 reaction to Green’s change was “unprecedented.”
“We were incredibly overwhelmed,” he added. “Now we know for sure that M&M’S is a cultural icon.”
M&M’S has no plans to restore Green’s look. “The characters … are continually evolving to reflect the times we’re living in,” Hwang said, adding that the brand hopes consumers will “know our characters for much more than their footwear.”
–CNN’s Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.
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