After its mascot refresh controversy last year, M&M’s announced Monday that it is taking an “indefinite pause” from using its candy-coated mascots, saying the “last thing M&M’s wanted” was to be “polarizing.”
M&M’s said in a tweet that it is instead tapping actor Maya Rudolph as its spokesperson, someone the brand said “America can agree on.”
Mars Inc., the parent company of M&M’s, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did representatives for Rudolph.
Rudolph told TODAY.com that she is “thrilled” to represent the brand in a Super Bowl ad on Feb. 12.
“I am a lifelong lover of the candy and I feel like it’s such an honor to be asked to be part of such a legendary brand’s campaign,” Rudolph said.
M&M’s “spokescandies” have provoked the ire of right-wing outlets like Fox News in recent weeks after the company announced a new “Flip the Status Quo“ campaign. The campaign raised money to support women in creative industries and featured limited-edition candy bags with the three female “spokescandies.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson railed against “woke M&Ms” in a recent broadcast. He made similar complaints about the candies last January after M&M’s announced a new, inclusive look.
In its statement Monday, M&M’s said it “definitely didn’t think it would break the internet.”
“But now we get it — even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing,” the brand wrote. “Which is the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together.”
The brand said it is “confident” that Rudolph “will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels like they belong.”
Many responded to the announcement online with shock and disappointment.
“They fired the M&Ms,” one user wrote.
“give me back my sexy green m&m,” wrote another user.
Some fans liked the change in spokesperson, while others felt M&M’s should have gone with another celebrity.
“Replacing the all-female M&M spokescandies with Maya Rudolph is some next-level trolling,” one person wrote.
“Maya Rudolph is a living legend, but I’m genuinely curious if they considered Eminem because… well… you know,” another said.
Others online quickly caught onto the Super Bowl tie-in.
“It’s January 23 they literally murdered Mr Peanut on Jan 22 2020, this is an obvious chumming of waters for a bad super bowl ad plan,” one user wrote, referring to when Planters said Mr. Peanut died during a pre-Super Bowl ad in 2020.
Daysia Tolentino is a culture and trends reporter for NBC News.