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S & M&M's - When marketing & communications goes wrong

Sometimes, brands come up with a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

For example, Mars Wrigley.

The company that gave the world Snickers was on the receiving end of a lot of snickers last week when it announced a ‘refreshed’ brand for its M&M’s candy.

A brand that will offer a more ‘modern take’ on its iconic candy-coated characters.

A brand that will emphasize the importance of ‘self-expression and the power of community through storytelling.’

Not to mention inclusivity and unity.

Sounds sweet, right?

I mean, I'm non-binary so anything that advances representation appeals to me.

So how do the more inclusive M&M's look?

Here are the M&M's as we know them:

And here are the inclusive ones:

Yeah, the difference is pretty, uh, subtle.

But let's set that aside for a moment.

Here's why this isn't resonating with me.

M&M’s are candy.

They are already inclusive.

They have different color shells, for one.

Some have peanuts.

Some have fudge brownie.

Some have pretzels.

If that isn't diversity and inclusivity, I don't know what is.

The second issue I have is that the changes to the characters strike me as relatively minor and kind of arbitrary.

I had to look a couple of times before I could discern how these M&M’s were more inclusive.

The main thing that stuck out was footwear.

The green M&M is not wearing go-go boots anymore, which I guess makes it easier to run in an action movie, but overall the changes do not really speak to inclusivity or diversity from where I sit.

But others have accused Mars Wrigley of slut-shaming the green M&M because the company took away the boots.

I cannot believe I am typing this, but a candy-chocolate is celebrated for being sex positive.

Behold exhibit A (although, if you think about it, isn't a chocolate eating chocolate cannibalism?):

And this has been the conversation over the past week: is the green M&M being punished for her healthy libido as part of a mandate to address sexism or...

I don't know.

And I don't know who this campaign is geared to, how it is relevant, how it will be impactful, why it exists.

Unless the goal was to get us talking about a green M&M's sexuality.

In which case... uh, bravo?

Or maybe it was intended to give right-wing pundits something to complain about, such as the perils of 'wokeness' or how M&M's no longer appeal to them sexually, or something.

In which case, ew.

I want to reiterate I am all for anything that promotes empathy, inclusivity, and diversity.

But this strikes me as the wrong way to go about it.

I don't need M&M's to represent me as non-binary.

I just want them to be what they have always been: impossible to stop eating.

And to be conveniently available at my local store when I need them (I am looking at you, peanut butter ones).

That’s it.

The frustrating thing about all of this is that, buried deep in the web page announcing the brand refresh was Mars Wrigley's commitments to advancing gender equality and diversity and inclusivity.

These are important commitments and we should be talking about them.

Not the fashion choices or sexuality of the M&M icons.

Am I making too much of all this silliness?


But it strikes me as a missed opportunity to promote inclusion and diversity.

And it unnecessarily complicates how I satisfy my sweet tooth.


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