The beloved M&M characters are becoming more “inclusive” with several changes that are subtle but noticeable.
Mars Wrigley, which owns M&Ms, announced on Thursday a “global commitment to creating a world where everyone feels they belong and society is inclusive.”
The green M&M character will lose her peach-colored legs and stiletto boots in favor of white legs and sneakers after criticism that the character was sexualized. Mars said it wanted the green M&M to be “better represented to reflect confidence and empowerment, as a strong female, and known for much more than her boots.”
The brown M&M will have her heels lowered to a “professional height.” In a Q&A on the company’s website for each character, her character says she is “not bossy, just the boss.”
Meanwhile, the green and brown M&Ms will no longer have a rivalry but will now be “together throwing shine and not shade.”
The anxious orange M&M, who Mars says is “one of the most relatable characters with Gen-Z, the most anxious generation,” previously had his shoes untied, but will now have them tied.
The red M&M, an outspoken character sometimes interpreted as bullying the other M&Ms, will start being more kind to his fellow candy characters.
The new versions of the characters will roll out online this week and will start appearing on M&M’s packaging later this year.
The changes are meant to increase a “sense of belonging for 10 million people around the world by 2025,” according to Mars.
“M&M’s has long been committed to creating colorful fun for all, and this purpose serves as a more concrete commitment to what we’ve always believed as a brand: that everyone has the right to enjoy moments of happiness, and fun is the most powerful way to help people feel that they belong,” said Cathryn Sleight, Mars Wrigley’s chief growth officer.
Many classic brands have opted to change their logos in recent years to be more politically correct.
Mars also owns Ben’s Original rice, previously known as Uncle Ben’s. The company changed the brand’s name and removed the image of a smiling, elderly African-American man from its packaging in 2020 after the murder of George Floyd.
Aunt Jemima also altered its logo in 2020 to remove the image of Aunt Jemima, an African-American woman. Quaker Oats said at the time that the company recognizes that “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”
Land O’Lakes butter changed its packaging in 2020 to eliminate the image of a Native American woman, which had been criticized as a racist stereotype, but that move was controversial within the Native American community, some saying the image fostered empowerment and cultural pride.
Meanwhile, the debate over racially insensitive school and sports team mascots has been ongoing for the last several years. The Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Chiefs, the the “Washington Football Team” formerly known as the Redskins, and the Atlanta Braves have all either changed their logos and mascots or cracked down on fan behavior at games, such as wearing headdresses or face paint.