Mars’ new chief exec has said that Tucker Carlson’s ire about M&Ms redesigning one of its cartoon mascots to be “less sexy” actually boosted the brand.
Poul Weihrauch, appointed CEO in September, told the Financial Times that Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s bizarre and continued ranting about M&Ms did not cause buyers to turn their backs on the sweet treats.
Last year, Carlson fumed on air about M&Ms more inclusive packaging when the brown cartoon sweet took off her stilettos and the green one took off her go-go boots.
“M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous,” said Carlson.
Weihrauch suggested that the attention brought more eyes to the brand, noting that a Super Bowl ad campaign that played on the controversy generated 25 billion online impressions.
“There’s lots of sales and it’s difficult to keep up with the orders,” he added.
Weihrauch also said that while companies’ environmental and social responsibility goals had become politicised, good businesses needed to double down on their commitments to the planet.
“Quality companies are deeply invested in this and if I walk out of this office and I take a 25-year-old associate that has joined us from university they will want us to do this,” he explained.
He also added that Mars employees “won’t stay with us if we don’t care about ESG or purpose or whatever we call it. So from my chair, I think it’s a nonsense conversation,” Mr Weihrauch said. “We don’t believe that purpose and profit are enemies.”
The company had largely stayed out of conversations around purpose and the environment but has recently become more open about discussing its emissions and supply chains.
Weihrauch also said that Politicians needed to “step in and take more responsibility” in areas such as providing recycling systems while maintaining a dialogue with “good big businesses that want to drive change.”
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