Sexed Up M&Ms Sell Fashionably Decadent Premium Sleaze

Mars candies have reached a new low…

Anthropomorphizing cartoon critters is one thing, giving chocolate candy classics the Jessica Rabbit treatment is another.

Do we REALLY need more sexualization of childhood now coming in jewel-tone rich candy colors with a lip-licking ‘take it all off’ stripper vibe? You know my answer.

The video’s after the jump if you want to take a peek for yourself. Careful gents, this breathlessly sexed up M&M porn queen spoof could cause heart palpitations or embarrassment at work.

Adweek says the ‘frisky green M&M’ portrayed as the sultry screen siren (as she’s being filmed for an ad by fellow M&Mers, Red, Yellow and Blue, who are mesmerized by her presence and sexy voice and rendered speechless) is all about breaking through the clutter in the premium chocolate wars.

I say it’s adding to the APA study showing the damage of early sexualization and the cacophony of tease-n-sleaze noise amped up to kids in 24/7 surround sound. Why repeatedly tout vapid values for girls with fashionista wannabe cues in ‘my body is my self worth’ style? Bleh.

They even had Eva Longoria Parker (who dissed the skimpy outfits on D.H.) debut the M&Ms candy at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week with red carpet designer Pamela Roland’s touch to give it that extra dash of Desperate Housewife-consumption-driven toxicity in rich-n-famous celebrity mode to add to the multiplatform marketing blitz.

L.A.-Story video here shows the elegant stick figure beauties passing out candy as we hear the MC narration, “Work it girl; if you were a raspberry I’d pick ya!” etc.

Ugh. Tasteless. The Mars spokesperson tows the party line, “M&M candies are seriously good without being serious,” but I’m sorry…it’s not flyin’ here on the front lines working with kids impacted by these cues.

When M&M spends $100 million in 2007 on offline advertising alone, and another $35 million already just through April of 2008 (per Nielsen Monitor-Plus) you can safely say the ‘we’re targeting sophisticated adults not kids” argument goes flying out the window. (not to mention the Facebook online teen scene blitz)

Who do you think will remember what the ads are conveying?

Adolescents striving to ‘be all that’ or adults getting their premium chocolate fix to stash in their office desk???

Again, you know my vote.

Feel free to feedback to Mars/Masterfoods USA…

After all, these are the same folks who hawked homophobia via the  Superbowl Snickers ads with two guys eating either end of the candy bar ending up in a surprise ‘kiss’…THAT got yanked based on complaints by human rights groups…

Yet for some reason, children seem to be ‘fair game’ for corporate predators using the ‘sex sells’ edgy bit to pornify product at every juncture…Where’s the outrage?

Are we THAT desensitized to uber-sexualization despite both genders of kids being in the blast zone? It truly baffles me.

We see the impact of the onslaught.

We study the result.

We whine and roll our eyes about pop culture body image impacting kids, and yet children (ESPECIALLY young girls) are dissed in the advocacy realm of childhood protection.

They’d never think of marketing racist sexpot M&Ms as “premium darks” so why is it okay to objectify females as porn queens and vamps under the guise of ‘wink and nod’ satire to sell chocolate?

What do you think? Should I be writing for Feministing instead of founding Shaping Youth?

Am I a ‘weary parent’ just exposed to too much of this drek on a daily diet of media and marketing?

Have I lost context on the perils of Packaging Girlhood?

Help me out here…See for yourself in the video below and leave me a comment to weigh in with your views.

Related Resources

Shaping Youth: Manga Makeovers And Other Body Image Cartoon Capers

Shaping Youth: Facelifts for Kiddie Characters?

Shaping Youth: Gender, Race & Sexism: Shaping Youth Through Pop Culture Cues

Shaping Youth: Girls As Boy Toys Takes an Even More Toxic Turn

Shaping Youth: Body Blitz: APA Harm of Early Sexualization

Shaping Youth: Preteen Tips/How to Say it To Girls

Shaping Youth: America the Beautiful: See it. Support it.

APA (American Psychological Association) Study Child Sexualization (72pp pdf)

YWCA: Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women: Beauty At Any Cost Resources

Beauty at Any Cost 9 pp pdf Report

Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing our Daughters From Marketers’ Schemes

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

So Sexy So Soon: Jean Kilbourne/Diane Levin: What Parents Can Do

Visual Credit: Eva Longoria Parker Daily Stab

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Comments

  1. I agree with you to a degree. I rarely have the TV on so I don’t know when these ads air…if they are on saturday morning then Yup, there is an issue.

    But, I have seen the M & M’s in the grocery. Way up high in the speciality candy section, not even where the kids grab for them in the check out line.

    I think the intent (even if ill-concieved) was for a “high class” premium, designer candy-which is why they have a silverish candy coating instead of just plain ole red dye.

  2. Agree the intent was to go ‘high end consumer goods’ and compete against Dove chocolate and Godiva and such…(I used to write for cruiselines, so know this category of ‘luxury goods’ quite well…)

    Still, it chaps my hide that everything has to be sexual. Even a freakin’ green M&M. And the Facebook feed and Twitter buzz is so dang dominant on the teen scene that it can’t help but put that ‘va-voom’ bit in the forefront further.

    Glad to hear the store shelf positioning, I’ll check my local stores as well and keep a cautious eye…

    Sometimes I think since I’m immersed in this media/mktg. world 24/7 it all starts to ‘look the same’ and I find myself feeling ‘desensitized’ to the fact that we’re now pornifying candy coated cuties like Miss Green M&M as ‘guest hotties’ in celeb worship webcast form…

    I’m anxious to hear from others, and also to see how the campaign itself rolls via media buys, product placement, co-op partnering and shelf positioning as you rightfully say.
    I know part of the HFCS offense to me was the ABC Family media buy targeting tweens and teens relentlessly.

    We’ll see how Mars handles this indeed…(judging by the FB fans and comments, it’s interesting to see the gender split on the ‘funny’ factor; again…I’d see the humor much more if I weren’t battling this sexualization issue under siege in the schools with our sessions… 😉

  3. I agree, these commercials are getting out of control.
    Provacative chocolate?
    As a girl in high school, I was hurt to see another advertisment selling the woman’s body.
    In response to Molly, I was in the store a few weeks ago and the M&M Premiums were on the bottom shelf, right in the area before checkout. Different store, different location.

  4. Thank you for all the detail.. Yet another exceptional article, that is precisely why my partner and I come back for your weblog generally!

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