I wish to thank Mars --- the corporation, not the planet --- for instantly curing me of my addiction to Peanut M&M’s.
A little background: I try to avoid sugar as much as possible, just because I think it’s healthier to be on a low-carb diet. But one exception I’ve made was Peanut M&M’s. I rationalized that since the candy was just on the outside of each piece, surrounding a peanut, the protein sort of “canceled out” the sugar. And, to some extent, I was correct.
But lately at our house, we’ve been buying not just the little single-serving packages but the big bags, and my nightly ritual was to pour a pretty fair amount into a dish and polish them off after dinner, typically while watching Tucker Carlson. (Tucker can thank me for the plug later.) I even had a little ritual surrounding which colors would be eaten first, leaving one each of green, orange and blue before they were all gone. I am not kidding. And I thought I could stop any time, though I hadn’t yet tested that theory.
But a few days ago, a story came out about the little animated M&M’s mascots getting an “image makeover” for 2022. And my love affair with Peanut M&M’s was suddenly and absolutely over.
I don’t care if they want to change the look of their characters. But this is yet another example of tedious virtue signaling about “inclusiveness” brought about by the current climate of corporate fear, and I have had enough of it. Mars Inc. had already bowed to pressure and changed the name of its beloved Uncle Ben’s brand rice. The real Uncle Ben was not a slave or a servant –- from the best I can gather, he was a real rice farmer in the Houston area known for his superior product. The model for the picture is Frank Brown, head waiter at a high-end Chicago restaurant when he posed in 1947. But now, in Orwellian fashion, Mr. Brown’s image has been erased, a casualty of wokeness.
But back to M&M’s. From Mars Inc.’s own press release: “M&M’s, a proud part of Mars Incorporated, launches a global platform to increase a sense of belonging for ten million people by 2025, helping to connect and celebrate one another.” Good grief.
Their release announces “a global commitment to creating a world where everyone feels they belong, and society is inclusive.” Skipping down a bit: “Studies show our desire to belong is as strong as our desire to be loved, and that desire is common for all people irrespective of culture, race, ethnicity, geography or location.” Skipping down a bit more, we see that there will even be more emphasis on the ampersand in M AND M’s, “to demonstrate how the brand aims to bring people together.”
Silly me, I thought we came together because of our mutual love of the candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand. This is too...heavy-handed.
They say they’ve even updated their “tone of voice” to be “more inclusive, welcoming and unifying, while remaining rooted to our signature jester wit and humor.” I apologize for not having picked up on M&M’s “signature jester wit” in the past. But do you know what destroys wit and humor with a sledgehammer? Fear of not being woke enough.
The Global Marketing Vice President refers to these as their new “evolved” characters, introduced as part of their effort “to create a world where society is inclusive.” Other aspects of their “global [there’s that word again] commitment” are “gender balanced leadership teams, running an independent annual diversity audit of its advertising by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media [I am not making this up], and its role as Vice Chair of the Unstereotype Alliance, part of UN Women, amongst others.”
“The world we want tomorrow starts with the way we do business today,” they say, and I agree with that statement. But this way of doing business is just pandering. It’s yet another case of a corporation drinking the Kool-Aid of wokeness, using the required buzzwords and professing the required intentions. It’s already become a cliché. But as fun as it would be to write a parody of this type of press release, why should I when it already reads like a parody of itself?
When you get down to the actual changes being made to these colorful candy characters, they mostly involve superficial characteristics such as footwear. (Come to think of it, that’s just about all they have to work with, style-wise, as M&M’s are otherwise sans clothing. But the brown one does wear glasses, I assume to make nearsighted people like me feel included!) The green M&M used to wear high-heeled boots, which have been exchanged for sneakers. The brown M&M also wore high heels, but they are lower heels now. Well, it’s about time those poor M&M’s got to be more comfortable! Perhaps their focus groups included an oversampling of podiatrists.
The red, yellow and orange M&M’s all sport shoelaces, with the laces left untied on the orange M&M, to make him/it more casual and “street.” I would have loved to be in on the creative session when they decided which color of candy would get which footwear: “Hey, we can’t put the untied shoelaces on the brown one!”)
Sorry to be flip, but you KNOW they talked about it.
Oh, and they’re doing away with prefixes that might identify gender. They want to “focus on their personalities, rather than their gender.” Maybe that’s why high heels were done away with. But what if a male M&M identified as female, and wanted high heels? Somebody has to think about these things!
As reported in the New York Post, “The characters are changing up their looks for ‘a fresh, modern take’ on their style and ‘more nuanced personalities to underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling’...adding that today’s ‘more dynamic, progressive world’ would be reflected in the changes.”
They now have “personalities and backstories...representative of today’s society.” Backstories, really? They’re M&M’s.
As the Gov. said when we brought you this story last week, M&M’s were already teaching the lesson that whatever colors we are on the outside, we’re the same on the inside. I’ve always thought that was a great message, but right now, it’s not the precise message that everyone in business must –- repeat, MUST –- convey. So apparently Mars is the latest corporation to be assimilated, like pods in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” They’ve all been frightened by the “progressive” (radical) left into parroting the same mandatory messages in the mandatory vocabulary. They think they have to do this to bring their product up to date, but to me it already seems old, lame, dated –- so 2021.
And, you know what? I’ve completely lost my taste for M&M’s. So, thank you, Mars Incorporated, for that.
Laura Ainsworth is a staff-writer at MikeHuckabee.com. You can read more of her work here.