M&M's announcement to sideline its iconic spokescandies has all the earmarks of a Super Bowl ad stunt. The move—which was portrayed as a response to last year's polarizing makeover of the characters—is generating the kind of attention craved by brands as they seek to break through the Big Game ad clutter.
But the apparent stunt, as silly as it might be, also carries risks, namely that the candy is bound to upset one side of the political aisle no matter how it finishes this off.
“It’s pretty clear [M&M's] are leaning into the controversy of the characters, and the goal is to create hype for their Super Bowl ad,” Jason Harris, co-founder and CEO of the creative agency Mekanism, said in an interview. “That’s the whole goal of Super Bowl advertising—to get as much hype as you can before you run the ad.” (Mekanism is not involved in the effort.)