“Now we get it — even a candy's shoes can be polarizing,” the statement said. “Which was the last thing M&M's wanted since we're all about bringing people together.”
Mars didn't say how long the pause would be for. Some likened the news to a publicity stunt that Planters tried in 2020 when it announced it was “killing off” its beloved spokescharacter Mr. Peanut ahead of the game.
“M&Ms announcing that they’re getting rid of long-standing and (mostly) beloved mascots because of peer pressure is newsworthy,” said Steve Merino, chief dreative director at ad agency Aloysius Butler & Clark. "That being said, many brands use their Super Bowl moment as a chance to pull a publicity stunt. Remember when Planters faked getting rid of Mr. Peanut? We’ll see if this is real, or just a thin candy shell.”
In Planters case, the ruse did not go seamlessly. Planters teased its Super Bowl ad nearly two weeks before the game, releasing a teaser that showed its Mr. Peanut mascot seemingly being killed. But when Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash, the marketing stunt suddenly seemed insensitive, so Planters paused its pre-game advertising. The actual Super Bowl ad was relatively inoffensive, with a baby Mr. Peanut appearing at the funeral. Planters is also returning to the Super Bowl this year for the first time since 2020, with an ad featuring Mr. Peanut.
The Super Bowl LVII will take place Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and will be broadcast on Fox.