M&M’s iconic characters are getting a modern makeover to reflect “the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in”, the manufacturer of the popular treat said in an announcement that has left many with a sour taste in their mouths.
In a statement on Thursday, multinational manufacturer Mars, Incorporated announced it would be “refreshing” and modernizing the M&M’s brand, which began more than 80 years ago, with a new global commitment to creating “a world where everyone feels they belong”.
“This year the brand continues to evolve to reflect the more dynamic, progressive world that we live in. And as part of this evolution, built on purpose, M&M’S promises to use the power of fun to include everyone with a goal of increasing the sense of belonging for 10 million people around the world by 2025,” Mars said on Thursday.
The candy characters will feature “more nuanced personalities” to underscore the importance of “self-expression and power of community through storytelling”, Mars said.
“The refreshed M&M’S brand will include a more modern take on the looks of our beloved characters, as well as more nuanced personalities. Fans will also notice an added emphasis on the ampersand to more prominently demonstrate how the brand aims to bring people together.”
Additionally, M&M’S branding will reflect an “updated tone of voice” that is more “inclusive, welcoming, and unifying, while remaining rooted in our signature jester wit and humor”.
The ‘anxious or nervous’ M&M – orange – has been dubbed by Mars as “one of the most relatable characters with Gen-Z, the most anxious generation” (this is true). To better reflect his preoccupied personality and cautious nature, the orange M&M’s once untied shoelaces will now be knotted in neat bows.
The red M&M, who often is often both leader and bully, will be adjusted to be more kind to his fellow characters, while the yellow M&M, who has a dim-witted disposition, appears to be relatively unchanged.
The most dramatic makeovers appear to have been given to the female M&Ms, the brown and the green. Once clad in white heeled boots, white gloves, and lip gloss with coyly raised eyebrows, the brand had faced backlash in the past for portraying the green M&M as ‘too sexualized’. But the stilettos are no longer, with the new-look M&M now sporting white trainers and tights – a style that better “reflect[s] confidence and empowerment”, a Mars spokesperson told local media.
“As a strong female, and known for much more than her boots.”
The brown M&M, which features a pair of rectangular specs and white stilettos, appears to have had her heels shortened to a more professional pump. Sorry, but stilettos are way more powerful than sneakers.
The two female characters will also enjoy a “more friendly relationship”, Mars said, showcasing a “force supporting women”.
It comes almost seven years after Mars teased a possible romantic relationship between the green and brown M&Ms in a viral tweet shared in 2015 – two days after the US Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage. The tweet featured an image of the two characters clasping hands while sitting on a beach, with the caption: “It’s rare Ms. Brown and I get to spend time together without some colorful characters barging in – Ms. Green”.