From electric vehicles to cosmetics, and even the word "mummy," there is a lot of rebranding going on.
Bowing to anger from right-wingers and conservative commentators, M&M's decided to rebrand the decades-old multi-colored candies after outrage over its latest addition, purple, and its new "spokescandy," also named "Purple."
"Roughly a year ago, Mars Wrigley updated the look of its M&M’s characters, announcing an initiative to make the mascots fit a 'more dynamic, progressive world.' As part of these changes, the company introduced new designs of some of M&M’s characters and wrote weirdly elaborate backstories for others. Most notably, the company made the green M&M less 'sexy' by shortening her legs and replacing her high-heeled boots with sneakers," Vox Media's Polygon reported last week.
Fox News personality Tucker Carlson infamously has waged war on the "woke" spokescandies, declaring at one point, “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous.”
Fast forward to now: Actress and comedian Maya Rudolph is their new spokesperson, although the "spokescandies," perhaps after some additional rebranding, will be returning in a new ad on Super Bowl Sunday.
Which brings us to the rebranding of another icon: Jesus Christ.
He too will be part of the Super Bowl Sunday ads.
Over the next three years a $1 billion mostly-dark-money campaign – which reportedly will include funds from billionaire right wing anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ funder David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby – will promote Jesus in ads, including during the Super Bowl on February 12. Those two Super Bowl ads to "to redeem Jesus’ brand" will cost $20 million, Religion News Service reports.
The campaign to promote Jesus includes $100 million in ads declaring "He Gets Us," from "the Servant Foundation, an Overland Park, Kansas, nonprofit that does business as The Signatry," RNS adds.
The "donors backing the campaign have until recently remained anonymous — in early 2022, organizers only told Religion News Service that funding came from 'like-minded families who desire to see the Jesus of the Bible represented in today’s culture with the same relevance and impact He had 2000 years ago.'"
But the full list of donors remains unknown.
"Jason Vanderground, president of Haven, a branding firm based in Grand Haven, Michigan, that is working on the 'He Gets Us' campaign, confirmed that the Greens are one of the major funders, among a variety of donors and families who have gotten behind it."
In a Washington Post interview last year, Vanderground "said Christians see their faith as the greatest love story, but those outside the faith see Christians as a hate group."
But rather than try to convince self-identified followers of Christ to act as Jesus would want, right-wing interests are spending $1 billion to convince others of what Christianity is supposed to be about.
“Our research shows that many people’s only exposure to Jesus is through Christians who reflect him imperfectly, and too often in ways that create a distorted or incomplete picture of his radical compassion and love for others,” Vanderground told The Washington Post. “We believe it’s more important now than ever for the real, authentic Jesus to be represented in the public marketplace as he is in the Bible.”
Some are not impressed, and are more-or-less asking, "What would Jesus do?"
“They are latching on to this touchy-feely, conveniently vague, designer Jesus,” podcaster, author, and secular activist Seth Andrews told RNS. Andrews "poses the question of what Jesus would think of the amount of money spent on the ads. Would he prefer that the money be spent on ministering to people’s physical needs or making the world a better place?"
“Or would he say, no, go ahead and spend $100 million to tell everybody how great I am?”
On-air, CNN said, "at first blush, it can all read like a stand against radical right-wing politics and related divisiveness," but adds that "some are calling this a 'right-wing stunt for politics.'"
"'He Gets Us' is funded by anonymous donors acting through a Kansas non-profit linked to staunchly conservative causes," CNN's report (video below) notes, saying it "raises alarms for some skeptics."
Watch CNN's report below or at this link.