Maya Rudolph is the new face of M&M's ad campaign M&M is withdrawing its "spokescandy" ads after Fox's Tucker Carlson railed about the candies' de-sexualization — as part of a push for a "woke" society. (Story aired on ATC on Jan. 24, 2023.)

Maya Rudolph is the new face of M&M's ad campaign

Maya Rudolph is the new face of M&M's ad campaign

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M&M is withdrawing its "spokescandy" ads after Fox's Tucker Carlson railed about the candies' de-sexualization — as part of a push for a "woke" society. (Story aired on ATC on Jan. 24, 2023.)

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Big news at the M&M's Store. The maker of M&M's says the colorful cartoon versions of the candies that appear in its ads are taking a break. NPR's David Folkenflik reports that Fox News' biggest star made them part of the primetime culture wars.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: You've probably seen a fair bit of those saucy characters we're talking about here.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Hey, the new M&M's dulce de leche caramels.

J K SIMMONS: (As Yellow) Nope.

BILLY WEST: (As Red) Not us.

SIMMONS: (As Yellow) No way.

FOLKENFLIK: Plots, jokes, celebrity cameos - things got a touch racy, even a bit meta.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PATRICK WARBURTON: What are you doing?

FOLKENFLIK: The character actor Patrick Warburton there coming across three animated M&M's.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WEST: (As Red) What?

WARBURTON: You're eating M&M's.

WEST: (As Red) Yeah? So are you.

WARBURTON: I'm not an M&M. You don't eat your own kind. It's unnatural.

FOLKENFLIK: The M&M campaign stretches back more than two decades. No one had found recent iterations more unnatural than Fox News' Tucker Carlson.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT")

TUCKER CARLSON: The Brown M&M has, quote, "transitioned from high stilettos to lower block heels." Also less sexy - that's progress.

FOLKENFLIK: Here was Carlson on his primetime show a year ago. Parent company Mars Wrigley also swapped out the go-go boots on the feminine-appearing green M&M for a pair of sneaks. The company had announced it wanted to create a world in which everyone feels they belong.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT")

CARLSON: M&M's will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous, until the moment 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.

FOLKENFLIK: So we have a case of candy cancel culture on our hands here. Tucker Carlson gets to notch the win, I guess. Funny thing - usually, Carlson is the guy telling viewers he's the champion of those who say they are canceled by critics like this conservative comic.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT")

CARLSON: So we opened this show by telling you about the comedian Josh Denny, who has been silenced...

FOLKENFLIK: And so many others.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT")

CARLSON: So now you're not even allowed to buy a used copy of Dr. Seuss' books. It's just too dangerous.

FOLKENFLIK: Even given we're talking about cartoon chocolates here - kind of ironic. Last fall, Mars introduced a new spokes-candy.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: Hey, Purple, 10 minutes till your big debut.

AMBER RUFFIN: (As Purple, singing) I'm the new M&M's candy. Do I have what it takes?

FOLKENFLIK: And Carlson made sure his audience knew of the disturbing developments.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT")

CARLSON: Woke M&M's have returned. The Green M&M got her boots back but apparently is now a lesbian maybe? And there's also a plus-sized, obese Purple M&M. So we're going to cover that, of course, because that's what we do.

FOLKENFLIK: Carlson told the conservative British magazine The Spectator he was just making fun of the campaign but said women can wear sexy boots and still be in leadership positions - noted. Speaking of women in leadership positions...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

MAYA RUDOLPH: (As Kamala Harris) Good evening, America. I'm Vice President Kamala Harris.

FOLKENFLIK: That's actually not Vice President Kamala Harris. It's comedian and actor Maya Rudolph, M&M's new spokeswoman. For its newest face, the company turned to a biracial woman performer who helped raise money for Harris and other Democrats that Carlson routinely blasts. She'll kick off M&M's new commercials - where else? - during the Super Bowl, which Mars says were already in the works. Looking forward to Carlson's postgame analysis. Last night, Carlson took a victory lap of sorts. He couldn't help but take advantage of one last chance to own the libs.

David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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