Diana Bradley
Jan 26, 2022

‘Sexy’ doesn’t always sell: M&M’s get positive feedback on mascot changes

The characters’ makeovers spotlight their personalities to reflect an inclusive world.

‘Sexy’ doesn’t always sell: M&M’s get positive feedback on mascot changes

M&M’s isn’t concerned about Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s comment that its mascots are “less sexy” after they got a progressive redesign.

Carlson, it turns out, is in the minority. The sentiment about the characters’ redesign has largely been positive, said Jessica Adelman, Mars Wrigley North America’s head of corporate affairs.

The candy brand hasn’t responded to Carlson. But Adelman noted that people need to keep in mind that M&M’s mascots are multidimensional.

“We don’t have to pick one adjective to describe them or how they show up in the world,” she said. “They have many different facets of their personalities and you’re going to keep seeing that evolution come to life through content and programs over the next year and beyond.”

M&M’s started considering a more refreshed, modern look for its six characters one year ago. Adelman explained that the goal was to authentically bring to life on shelf what M&M’s stand for.

“That led us to this idea we are on a mission to create a world where everybody feels they belong, which is a world that is for all ‘funkind,’” she said.

The changes, made for a "more dynamic, progressive world," are focused on creating a sense of belonging and community, as well as spotlighting the characters’ “personalities, rather than their genders,” M&M’s parent company Mars said last Thursday. Changes include new female footwear for the green and brown M&M’s and a friendlier relationship between them, and new personality traits: The orange M&M will “embrace his true self, worries and all,” and the red M&M will be nicer to the other characters.

Adelman said she is particularly proud of the orange M&M’s changes. His character, she said, “helps us connect to the more substantive conversations going on today about people’s mental health and well-being.”

The characters will also be featured together more, as a group, so that “everyone feels invited and we show that sense of belonging to one another,” said Adelman.

M&M’s pushed messaging about the changes out on its official Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. A press release was also sent out and a launch video was posted to YouTube, which has since garnered over 100,000 views.

The launch also led to “one of the largest demand days on our MMS.com business since Cyber Monday,” said Adelman. She added that there has particularly been a “reinvigorated interest” in the green M&M and products related to her on the M&M’s website.


In the first 24 hours of the launch, M&M’s leaned into the conversation on social media. The green M&M responded to the lively commentary around her new shoes, leading to the highest impressions on an organic tweet the brand has ever seen, said Adelman.

“By leaning in and engaging in the conversation real-time, as comms experts and pros, we were able to harness the moment and poke a little bit of fun at ourselves,” Adelman said.  

On Tuesday, the brand unveiled limited-edition M&M’S Album Art packs — a  musically inspired collection featuring Yellow, Green, and Brown recreating iconic album covers from David Bowie, Rosalía, Kacey Musgraves and H.E.R. The four award-winning artists featured on the packs each come from different backgrounds and have their own style, but they celebrate one thing in common: music. The Album Art packs are available at retailers nationwide and on MMS.com.

“The Album Art Packs harness the power of music to connect people by helping them find their commonalities rather than focus on their differences and inspire a deeper sense of belonging,” said Adelman. “We feel that this is in sync with our purpose of focusing on a world where everyone feels they belong.”

Weber Shandwick is supporting this campaign.


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