M&M spokescandies’ shoes before and after: What irked Tucker Carlson so?

Bruno Cooke January 25, 2023
M&M spokescandies’ shoes before and after: What irked Tucker Carlson so?
Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images

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“Even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing,” M&M’s’ official statement reads, posted on Twitter, seemingly responding to Tucker Carlson’s various diatribes condemning the company’s so-called spokescandies as “woke,” meaning “aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues” (per Merriam-Webster). Here’s a breakdown of Tucker Carlson’s comments before and after M&M’S changed the shoes of its green and brown spokescandies.

“If you’re actually upset about the ‘shoes’ a cartoon piece of candy ‘wears,’” wrote one Twitter user in response to M&M’s’ statement, “seek help immediately.”

They were addressing Carlson, who claims to have played a role in forcing M&M’s’ hand with regard to the shoes (and spokescandies in general), it seems. The new face of M&M’s will be Maya Rodulph, whose mother was soul singer Minnie Riperton. She told TODAY.com she is “thrilled” to be taking up the mantel.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the M&M’s spokescandies, “before and after,” focussing on the shoes that appear to have caused such a ruckus.

Photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

M&M spokescandies shoes before and after: What changed?

On January 20, 2022, the M&M’s mascots underwent a makeover. Its stated purpose was to “underscore the importance of self-expression and power of community through storytelling.”

“We’re excited to reveal our new M&M’S brand look and feel,” a company press release quoted Mars Wrigley’s global marketing VP, Jane Hwang, as saying. “Which fans will see come to life across all M&M’S touchpoints around the globe.”

The release itself doesn’t actually make any special mention of the M&M’s mascots’ shoes, but that’s partly what it was about. As Design Boom noted at the time, its cheerful characters were getting a makeover.

New colors, new shoes, and “redesigned” personalities. A video upload on the official M&M’S YouTube channel at the time briefly introduced the new characters, or the old characters’ new looks.

Photo by Jason Koerner/Getty Images

The green M&M spokescandy traded her iconic boots and lashes for a pair of sneakers

The most striking difference was arguably that the green M&M spokescandy had a new pair of shoes.

Which, in the world of mascots for candy brands, is a pretty big deal. For Tucker Carlson, at least, it certainly was. At the time, numerous people aired their thoughts on social media platforms.

Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, aired his on his nightly Fox News show.

Some tied the green M&M’s mascot’s changes to the process of ageing – see the before and after comparison of the spokescandies below. They suggested that the green M&M, who before the change wore shoes with high heels (and nothing on her legs) and after it wore white trousers and gym shoes, is “now in her 40s.”

“Older women just can’t catch a break.”

What was Tucker Carlson’s take on the M&M’s spokescandies, before and after the change?

Tucker Carlson equated being “intentionally repulsive” to having “the right politics.”

The green M&M lost her boots, and the brown M&M swapped her stiletto heels for some lower ones, he said. This, he argued, was a symptom of Mars Wrigley’s “woke” political agenda.

Carlson also railed against the addition of the purple M&M. He identified it as an “obese and distinctly frumpy” gay spokescandy, which he found upsetting.

Since M&M’S released its branding statement, Carlson has responded both on Twitter and via his show. He changed his description of the purple M&M from “obese” to “plus-sized”; and said he accepts “full responsibility” for the corporation’s decision to change its advertising strategy. 

‘Hard to say’ if Carlson caused spokescandies to change with before-and-after comments about shoes

Polygon has gone into much greater depth in explaining the whole debacle. But suffice it to say for now that the outlet deems it “hard to say” whether the social media fallout from Carlson’s comments prompted Mars Wrigley’s change of heart.

It’s also possible, the outlet adds, that this is a “very strange marketing ploy” ahead of the Super Bowl. 

For her part, meanwhile, Maya Rudolph has described herself as a “lifelong lover” of M&M’S chocolates. “I feel like it’s such an honor to be asked to be part of such a legendary brand’s campaign.”

May her choice of shoes not invoke the ire of Tucker Carlson.

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.