Digital Culture

Orange M&M is now a Gen Z icon because of its extreme anxiety

Step aside, Timothée Chalamet.
By Elena Cavender  on 
Image of the orange M&M.
It's giving Gen Z. Credit: M&Ms

Remember the orange M&M? Apparently, he's a Gen Z icon now.

In an effort to make the M&M brand more inclusive, Mars has redesigned its beloved M&M characters for a "more dynamic, progressive world," reports CBS News. The 2022 updates include a significantly less sexy green M&M — her iconic heeled go-go boots have been replaced with simple, stylish sneakers — and the orange M&M is now embracing his anxiety. Yes, the green lady M&M got new shoes, while the orange M&M is grappling with his mental health!

The orange M&M has always been the anxious one, something I had to be reminded of by this campaign, but now it will "embrace his true self, worries and all." How is the orange M&M's acceptance of his anxious self reflected in the rebranded character design, you ask? He tied his shoes, duh.

Nothing says having control over your life like double-knotted laces.

According to Mars, the orange M&M is "the most relatable character with Gen Z" because we are "the most anxious generation." Personally, as a member of Gen Z, I feel attacked. Is it our fault that we're understandably anxious to come of age amidst the climate crisis and a years-long global pandemic? The orange M&M is just trying to live its life without being eaten whole by an unforgiving society. It's strange for a brand to single out a generation based on their mental health struggles, but this is the hellscape we are living in.

The new orange M&M design is comical with its expressive, worried face and big tennis shoes. If you really squint, he's kinda giving Timothée Chalamet or Pete Davidson, two goofy, Gen Z icons who wear oversized sneakers.

On his updated character page on the M&M website, the orange M&M is asked about its "favorite way to unwind?" to which he responds, "I don't understand the question." That's millennial behavior if I've ever seen it. Gen Z is all about self-awareness, introspection, and being in touch with our feelings. If orange wants to be one of us, he has to accept his anxiety and then put it all over social media.

He does make some good points, though. He responds to the prompt "I can't leave the house without..." with "panicking." Maybe orange M&M is the most relatable one after all.

I just hope that part of the orange M&M's journey to embracing its anxious personality involves it getting the help it needs. And that's on prioritizing your mental health!

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