- Nora Goodin
The M&M Mascots’ New Looks
Candy is not just something you eat. It gets people through a tough day, brings people together, and can even serve as inspiration. Mars Incorporated, the owner of M&M’s, recognizes this universal truth. The advertisers behind M&M’s knew they were destined to make a difference in the world. So, they redesigned the M&M mascots in an effort to, as Mars Inc. put it, “create a world where everyone feels they belong and society is inclusive.”
You may ask, “What does this entail?” Well, the marketing team’s first order of business was to reevaluate the shoe choices for their anthropomorphic pieces of candy. For instance, the Brown M&M has swapped her stiletto heels for some more toned-down, reasonable block heels to compliment her life on the go. However, the team’s most controversial change was trading in the Green M&M’s signature go-go boots for “cool, laid-back sneakers to reflect her effortless confidence,” as described by confectioner Mars Wrigley.
Why did these changes occur? Can go-go boots not reflect confidence? These are valid questions. Sometimes, in emphasizing women’s ability to look or act however they like, people or brands begin to reject femininity as a sign of strength and empowerment. Green, dressed in her boots, was an icon for women across the world. If their candy could express confidence in her femininity, so could they. Understandably, many social media users are upset at the M&M brand for this change. One Twitter user, outraged, said “They took away her boots! They unyassified her.” An Instagram commenter demanded, “give the green M&M back her Prada boots NOW.”
Personally, I believe this conversation is so nuanced that it’s difficult to encapsulate all viewpoints in simply one article. There are those who believe taking away the go-go boots has taken away Green’s femininity, but why is her femininity only tied to what she wears? Then again, why must these boots, a clothing item historically and prominently worn by women, be removed for her to express confidence. I agree with the sentiment that “feminism is letting the green M&M wear go-go boots if she wants to,” as one Twitter user pointed out. If she felt she had to wear her boots to subscribe to the norms of a patriarchal society, then liberating her from that burden of societal expectation would be a beneficent move by the marketing team. However, if she liked her boots for whatever reason, forcing her to change her appearance for an advertising ploy would go against the very message the company is trying to spread.