M&M's "spokescandies" are back after a brief but noteworthy hiatus as part of a Super Bowl ad campaign by the candy company.
On Feb. 12, after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl 53, M&M’s held a “press conference” to announce the triumphant return of its candy mascots, ending the short-lived reign of Maya Rudolph and her “Candy Coated Clam Bites."
“I can’t believe we were actually put on pause,” the red M&M says in the 15-second spot while standing atop a press conference table with his candy-coated colleagues, including yellow, green and the newest purple M&M voiced by Amber Ruffin.
“This is what I was made for,” says the purple M&M, after her always-anxious comrade in chocolate the orange M&M expressed his nervousness. “I mean, as a walking, talking candy, my options are pretty limited.”
Maya Rudolph made her debut as M&M’s new spokesperson and “Chief of Fun” prior to the Super Bowl when Mars announced the original mascots had been put on “indefinite pause” last month.
In a trio of commercials for the brand, Rudolph swiftly made outlandish changes to the 82-year-old candy, ending up with an altered product called “Ma&Ya’s Candy Coated Clam Bites” emblazoned with her face instead of the usual “M.”
Rudolph’s rebrand came to a head during an ad that aired during the Super Bowl, where the triple threat (actor, singer, shellfish advocate) paints a world in which everyone loves (?) and enjoys (???) her new treats.
“Come with me to a magic land, bite-sized candies filled with clams,” Rudolph sings in the spot. The ad features people from all walks of life eating the candy, only for their faces to reveal the truth of how they feel about chocolate seafood. At the end of the ad, the red M&M appears behind Rudolph, holding a sign reading “HELP.”
After the commercial aired, M&M's swiftly “canceled” the Rudolph campaign, posting a facetious standby message on social media. Later, the company made the announcement that M&M's original spokescandies were “back for good,” posting a postgame “press conference” spot on YouTube.
The Super Bowl ad campaign comes as M&M’s has found itself at the center of controversy over the makeover of its flagship characters to become more “inclusive.”
In January 2022, the company announced changes to the look of some characters, including the footwear of the female characters: The brown M&M switched from stilettos to chunky heels and green ditched her signature white go-go boots for a pair of “cool, laid-back sneakers to reflect her effortless confidence.”
At the time, this caused saucy headlines, social media jokes and even political commentary that the company had gone "woke" — an idea that Mars decided to run with.
“Over the past year, we have seen an unprecedented level of conversation, cementing M&M’S as one of the world’s most iconic brands,” Gabrielle Wesley, the chief marketing officer of Mars Wrigley North America, said in a press release. “That level of talk value — irrespective of opinion — indicates people are interested in our brand and its values. The M&M’S brand will always continue to bring the fun, laughter, and entertainment with an unwavering commitment to purpose.”
Harkening back to yet another controversy regarding an all-female package of M&M’s which debuted in 2022, Mars also said that the brand is “quite literally doubling down on our purpose driven activities.” In celebration of the official return of the M&M’s spokescandies, the company says it's celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8 by awarding 20 “change-making women” with $10,000 grants.