M&M’S says it’s taking a ‘pause’ from polarizing spokescandies

The M&M spokespeople are taking a break (Photo: M&Ms)

(CNN) — After causing outrage by making over the Green M&M and launching a special bag featuring its new Purple character in honor of International Women’s Day, M&M’S says it is taking a step back from its candy reps — sort of.

“In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies,” the chocolate candy brand said in a statement Monday. “We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet.”

The brand added that the changes were so polarizing that “we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies.” Mars has tapped comedian and actress Maya Rudolph to represent the product instead.

“We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong,” M&M’S, which is owned by Mars, said in a statement Monday.

The partnership with Rudolph has been “in the works for a while,” said Gabrielle Wesley, chief marketing officer for Mars Wrigley North America, in a statement emailed to CNN.

“There are lots of stories out there but let me say conclusively that this decision isn’t a reaction to but rather is in support of our M&M’S brand,” Wesley said. “The original colorful cast of M&M’S spokescandies are, at present, pursuing other personal passions.”

That doesn’t mean the brand is ditching the candy characters: “We will share more on the spokescandies new pursuits over the next few weeks,” a spokesperson told CNN.

Rudolph will appear in an M&M’S Super Bowl commercial. Mars announced in December that it would run an ad during the game. Online, some guessed right away that the announcement was part of a Super Bowl campaign, while others criticized the brand for bowing to pressure. Even Merriam Webster weighed in, tweeting that “spokescandies” is not in the dictionary.

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