There are a number of stories this morning about how marketing decisions made by Mars Inc. about its M&M brand advertising have caused a cultural kerfuffle, leading to a move away from its animated "spokes-candies" in commercials and hiring of comedian Maya Rudolph for a new campaign that will be launched during Super Bowl LVII next month.
Here's how the Wall Street Journal describes the scenario:
"Changes to the candy cartoon appearances stirred up debate last year - particularly the decision to swap the green M&M’s heeled boots for sneakers. At the time, the brand marketed these changes as part of their commitment to inclusion, saying the green M&M’s new look gave the character a more laid-back style for the post-pandemic world. The decision drew jokes and criticism online. A Change.org petition to 'keep the Green M&M sexy' generated more than 20,000 signatures."
In September, the Journal writes, "Mars announced the addition of its newest character, Purple, which was 'designed to represent acceptance and inclusivity,' the company said. Earlier this month, the brand unveiled limited-edition packaging featuring Purple and two other female 'spokes-candies' to promote female empowerment, with some money from those sales going toward nonprofits."
The New York Times writes that "the characters, which have featured in the company’s ads for decades, were not weighing in on abortion or the storage of classified documents. But figures on the political right, including Tucker Carlson of Fox News, have criticized the candy as 'Woke M&M’s,' owing to a series of cosmetic tweaks in recent years … 'M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous,' Mr. Carlson railed on his show. 'Until the moment when you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal. When you’re totally turned off, we’ve achieved equity. They’ve won'."
- KC's View:
The thing is, there are things in the world worth arguing about. There are things in the world worth fighting for.
But something else is true. Which is that some people will fight and argue about stupid stuff just because they like the fight, not because the core disagreement is particularly meaningful. These aren't necessarily stupid people, just people who like to create chaos for fun and, often, profit. (Who, exactly, even thinks about having a drink with or being turned on by an animated candy character?)
To meet, the kind of shoes that animated candy characters wear, or what color these animated candy characters happen to be, fits the definition of not worth noticing, much less arguing about.