It's a new year and, for the beloved M&Ms characters, a new look as well. The candy company has revamped not just its logo but also the anthropomorphic chocolate characters that have, in the last 70-odd years, become a core part of its brand.
The changes may seem subtle at first as much of them come down to footwear: two of the shoes that the M&Ms have shoelaces while the Green M&M is wearing sneakers instead of high-heeled boots. While Brown is still wearing high heels, the shoes appear less dramatic and more comfortable. The Blue M&M is wearing the same boot-like shoes while the ones worn by the Orange M&M now have tied instead of untied laces.
The other change comes in the form of personality: the Green M&M is no longer striking a "flirty" pose. The two visibly female characters, Green and Brown would sometimes be presented as "competing" for attention in past advertisements — the new look, brand representatives said, would have them come "together throwing shine and not shade."
“M&M’S has long been committed to creating colorful fun for all, and this purpose serves as a more concrete commitment to what we've always believed as a brand: that everyone has the right to enjoy moments of happiness," Cathryn Sleight, Mars Wrigley's chief growth officer said in a statement.
What Brought This On?
An American candy classic since 1941, M&Ms (owned by the privately-held Mars Wrigley) have had many looks over the years; the iconic characters were launched in 1954 and have since become a core part of its brand. As the national discussion around gender representation increased in the last few years, some people on Twitter (TWTR) - Get Twitter, Inc. Report pointed out Green M&M's "sexy" look.
"'women arent [sic] overly sexualized in media,' sir there is literally a sexy green m&m," one user wrote in a tweet that went viral last summer.
The new characters will now have prefixes like "Mrs." and "Mr." removed from their names in order to spotlight "their personalities rather than their gender." Changes to their poses, while very slight, are also meant to reflect a more "inviting and welcoming" stance.
"We took a deep look at our characters, both inside and out, and have evolved their look, personalities and backstories to be more representative of today's society," a brand representative explained further to People Magazine. "As the world changes, so do we."
Does This Really Change Anything?
Other changes include the brand's logo, which will be set straight instead of tilted to the left and highlighted in brighter colors like the characters themselves. Consumers will start to notice the changes on new packaging released going forward.
While the changes are getting some attention online (including some in right-wing press over M&Ms' new "woke" look), the changes are quite subtle when looked at side by side — the company says that they are part of an evolution meant to make the brand reflect current society.
"We’ll incorporate colorful visuals, inclusive messaging and our purpose into all we do to prove that all together, we’re more fun," Jane Hwang, global marketing vice president at Mars Wrigley said in a release.