The Super Bowl has put an end to the M&M’s spokescandy saga, confirming the controversy was a calculated PR stunt.
It all started in January, when M&M’s announced that its mascots would be put on “indefinite pause” after they had represented the brand for over two decades. Recent updates to the spokescandies to make them look more inclusive had been dogged by accusations of “wokeness” by American right-wing media – and had apparently left M&M’s with no choice but to replace the talking chocolates with comedy actor Maya Rudolph, a “spokesperson America can agree on”.
The seemingly-official announcement went viral, and ‘Maya Rudolph’ was the 13th most searched term on Google in Australia on the day of the announcement.
In the lead up to Super Bowl LVII, M&M’s continued to tease audiences online with rolling updates to the confectionary company under the rule of its new delightful – if slightly unhinged – “queen”, Rudolph.
First was a rebrand to “Ma&Yas”, followed by the creation of new product: chocolate-coated clams. Behind the scenes, the old spokescandies were shown exploring new passions.
Spokescandies at the Super Bowl
M&M’s playfully continued the narrative on game day. Its first 30-second Super Bowl commercial depicted Maya Rudolph’s new kingdom, where loyal subjects winced at the taste of clam Ma&Ya’s and the red M&M was shown held hostage in the background.
The second spot, which went for 15 seconds, had the old spokescandies announcing their return at a press conference.
“I’m glad to be back because this is what I was made for,” the purple M&M, originally designed to represent acceptance and inclusivity, says.
“I mean, as a walking, talking candy, my options are pretty limited.”
Tucker Carlson, a Fox News host and vocal opponent of the “woke” M&M’s, is yet to comment on the big reveal. But fellow Super Bowl advertisers Avocados From Mexico joined the conversation online with a Tweet about how avocados “make everything better” – including M&M’s.
With its big Super Bowl campaign, M&M’s confected a story that required audience investment from beginning to end. The company joins a host of other brands dropping early teasers to get more out of their multi-million dollar investments in Super Bowl advertising.
Read more about those ads here.
Cover image: M&M’s