Why Is Mars Incorporated Slut-Shaming the Green M&M?

(Aditor’s note: Thanks to both readers of this site for joining in the triumphant return of the good doctor yesterday. We won’t forget your kindness.)

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag once again and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, just minding my own business and scrolling through Twitter when I came across this.

The Hill’s Judy Kurtz reported that “candy is about to get more ‘inclusive,’ with the maker of M&M’s announcing its famed characters are getting modern makeovers and will have more ‘nuanced personalities.’”

For example:

The green M&M, previously seen in ads posing seductively and strutting her stuff in white go-go boots, will now sport a pair of sneakers. A description for the green candy on the M&M’s website says she enjoys “being a hypewoman for my friends.”

A hypewoman? What the hell even is that? Help me out here, Doc.

– Candy Crushed

Dear Crushed,

In the past, the Doc’s efforts to tackle delicate subjects like this one have tended to go over like the metric system. So let’s leave it to the Double Xers.

Danielle Cohen at The Cut.

Let the M&M’s Be Hot and Mean

Have you ever gazed at a piece of chocolate and asked yourself, What if this candy were … progressive? Can’t say I have, but lucky for me, somebody thought to do just that. Mars has rolled out new versions of famed M&M’s characters to reflect what the company sees as a “more dynamic, progressive world” and what I see as a very rude corporate rebrand nobody asked for.

Claire Carusillo at Gawker (headline: They Made the Green M&M a Dumpy Slut).

[Yesterday], the Mars Wrigley company rolled out a sterile, bone-dry rebrand of those sentient, sexy, candy-shelled roly-polys we like to call M&Ms. Notably, the hot green one is no longer wearing go-go boots, and the brown one has a lower heel. Anton Vincent, the president of Mars Wrigley North America told CNN that tamping down the sexuality of our most beloved screen sirens by giving them more sensible footwear is “a subtle cue, but it’s a cue nonetheless” that M&Ms are feminism, that they are geopolitics, that they are egalitarianism, and that they are corporate ladder climbing.

EJ Dickson at Rolling Stone (headline: Let the Green M&M Be a Nasty Little Slut).

The recent push to rebrand corporate logos to be more inclusive has, for the most part, been a good thing. Making Barbie more body-positive? Great. Renaming Aunt Jemima syrup? About damn time. Yet in brands’ fervent quest to capture youth audiences and capture the woke zeitgeist, they may be going just a little bit too far. Case in point: the slut-shaming of the green M&M.

‘Nuf said.

What’s Up with the NYC Girls Project?

DrAdsforProfileWell the Doc opened the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

Did you see this story in the New York Times yesterday?

City Unveils a Campaign to Improve Girls’ Self-Esteem

The fashion industry and Madison Avenue are not anathema to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in the same way that soda companies and big tobacco are. But they are, in a sense, the impetus for City Hall’s latest public health campaign.GIRLS-02-articleInline

Mr. Bloomberg is taking on the popular, unattainable notions of beauty promoted by professional image-makers with a campaign that tells girls that they are beautiful the way they are.

Mainly through bus and subway ads, the campaign aims to reach girls from about 7 to 12 years old, who are at risk of negative body images that can lead to eating disorders, drinking, acting out sexually, suicide and bullying. But unlike Mr. Bloomberg’s ads to combat teenage pregnancy, smoking and soda-drinking, which are often ugly, revolting or sad, these ads are uniformly upbeat and positive.

Whaddaya think, Doc – good idea?

– Bloom(berg) Off the Rose

Dear Bloom(berg),

First off, the Doc has never lacked for self-esteem, so he’s the ideal person to address this issue.

The $330,000 NYC Girls Project describes itself as “[a] public education campaign geared toward girls ages 7-12 appearing on buses, subways, and phone kiosks and featuring a diverse group of girls performing activities like reading, playing sports, and drawing with the words: “I’m a girl. I’m smart, a leader, adventurous, friendly, funny. I’m beautiful the way I am.”

Yes you are. (See PSA here.)

It reminds the Doc of Nike’s classic 1995 damage-control If You Let Me Play spot.

 

There are some NYC Girls Project spoilsports, though.

From Slate:

This initiative gets so many things right. But to pick a nit, what’s with the slogan? As Kat Stoeffel at the Cut notes, “There’s something slightly contradictory about the NYC Girls Project message—‘Don’t worry about how you look. You look beautiful!’ ” Isn’t the point of the program to encourage girls to disassociate their sense of worth from their physical appearance? Why couldn’t the slogan simply be, “I’m Awesome the Way I Am?”

From Time:

The NYC Girl’s Project may have employed all the right tactics, but the long-term effectiveness of self-esteem programs is still in question. In a study published in 2013 on an Internet-based promotion of positive body image, young girls in the study reported a decrease in body dissatisfaction: they compared their bodies less to others and were more satisfied with their own appearance than girls who hadn’t seen the promotion. However, the positive effects had dissipated during a followup interview three months later.

Even so, it’s worth trying, yeah?

Yo.