US: M&M’s retires signature candy mascots following backlash – How has the brand performed?
January 27th, 2023, Joshua Kennedy

US: M&M’s retires signature candy mascots following backlash – How has the brand performed?

The button-shaped chocolate brand M&M’s has retired its signature “spokescandy” characters and replaced them with actor Maya Rudolph after becoming the target of conservative media anger in the US. While the brand’s "Flip the Status Quo" campaign was launched on 5 January 2023, it updated its iconic characters with a modern look and new backstories last year.

How has the chatter about M&M’s been among consumers of different political persuasions?

According to YouGov BrandIndex - which tracks consumer sentiment towards thousands of brands daily - M&M’s metrics have performed poorly among two of the three groups we looked at - over the past year.

The brand’s Buzz score - which measures if people have heard something positive about the brand (through news, advertising, or talking to friends and family) - showed a downtrend among those consumers who identified as either liberal or conservative.

Amongst the people who identified as conservatives, M&M’s started 2022 with a Buzz net score of 19, before declining in the latter half of January, till it reached a net score of 10 by April 2022. It recovered gradually over the year reaching a net score of 16 by the last week of January 2023.

Among Liberal respondents, Buzz scores followed a somewhat similar pattern, though the decline was not as steep among conservative respondents. Buzz slid from a net score of 18 on 1 January 2022, to a net score of 14 in May 2022 (its lowest in 2022). Buzz scores among liberals peaked at 20 in December before dipping slightly in January.

The New Jersey-based candy company’s Buzz scores amongst people with moderate political views remained mostly flat over the last year. The brand’s Buzz score dropped from 21 in January 2022 to 18 in May, before recovering again to a net score of 21 at the time of the “Flip the Status Quo” campaign's launch.

Explore our living data – for free    
Discover more FMCG content here    
Want to run your own research? Start building a survey now       
To receive monthly insights about media and content register here.    
To read YouGov’s latest intelligence on the media industry explore here.    
Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 20 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on thousands of brands every day. M&M’s’ Buzz score is based on the question: “Over the PAST TWO WEEKS, which of the following consumer brands have you heard something POSITIVE about (whether in the news, through advertising, or talking to friends and family)? / Now which of the following have you heard something NEGATIVE about over the PAST TWO WEEKS?”

Scores are based on an average daily sample size of 1438 US-based adults between 1 January 2023 and 25 January 2023. Figures are based on a 12-week moving average. Learn more about BrandIndex.

Photo by

Syed F Hashemi