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A brand with an opinion? 

We all know the animated chocolate figures in M&M's advertising campaigns. Nice, endearing types that have been a lot of fun in recent weeks. 

First of all, the news that a new color has been added to the regular M&M's color range: purple. This color represents acceptance and inclusion. The other figures from the permanent range also received a makeover: no more high heels (too sexist) but sneakers. “Supporting women flipping the status quo,” is how Mars, the parent company of M&M's, justified this decision.  

This was followed by a huge uproar. Mainly conservative news channels like Fox News mentioned M&Ms woke, found the modified figures to be an attack on classic gender roles and accused Mars of misusing a product to promote a political message. There was a storm of reactions, and the announcement that M&M's would take the commercials off the air ultimately turned out to be another stunt. “The last thing we wanted to achieve was division,” Mars said. Although the action to cancel the commercial was a media stunt by Mars, about which we could write a completely different blog, we also find it an interesting development that brands are increasingly speaking out while history shows that not everyone will agree with this. are. 

As a brand, are you allowed to have an opinion? What does it get you? And what is the downside of if you do have this? 

At Issuemakers we believe that it is good to speak out as a brand. However, this must meet a number of conditions, such as: 

  • For example, the topic you speak out about must be close to your brand. It must feel logical to the viewer that this is the issue you are speaking out about.
  • Moreover, your involvement must be sincere. You speak out because as a brand and organization you actually find something. Intrinsically motivated to change the status quo. To put it out there as a publicity stunt, as was the case with Mars, should not be the driving force. The purple M&M ultimately remains 'spokescandy', but how seriously is Mars' statement about acceptance and inclusion taken if it was initially presented as a publicity stunt? That's risky. 
  • Commitment, conviction and consistency start internally! First invest in informing and engaging your people before you “just” communicate something to the outside world.  

So what is a good example? 

A better example can be found in the new LEGO Friends line that will be available for purchase from February 2023. A new series of toys that also includes, for example, a Lego figure in a wheelchair and a character with a skin condition. This allows more children to recognize themselves in the toys they play with, which contributes to their development. Moreover, children come into contact with diversity through play. We think this is a good topic that suits LEGO and is close to their brand. LEGO is consistently putting this topic on the agenda and it is not a one-off action with which they try to win over customers. What is your view on this? 

Continue talking? We would be happy to plan something with you! 

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