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How do Tampa Bay consumers feel about new M&Ms, old houses and face bologna?

In a break from the daily dose of heavy news, M&Ms are ditching that sexy look, old houses are uncool and Oscar Mayer debuts a beauty product.
In lighter news, M&M's are getting a high-profile makeover.
In lighter news, M&M's are getting a high-profile makeover. [ CHARLIE RIEDEL | AP ]
Published Jan. 27|Updated Jan. 27

Forget for a minute those persistent supply chain woes effecting everything from cars to cat food. For consumers lately, some headlines have been downright amusing. And we could use it.

Recent evidence: The makers of M&Ms just announced “a fresh, modern take” and more nuanced personalities for the candy characters in their ads — with the makeover of a certain female version getting particular attention.

Ms. Green, as one of the spokescandies has been called — a color said to be an aphrodisiac for reasons no one can explain — wore high-heeled boots, appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition and in one commercial literally melted her male counterparts. Vampy appeared to be the vibe creators were going for.

Going forward, Green will sport sneakers that are comfy for the COVID era, according to Mars. She is more interested in “shining” than throwing “shade” according to her bio. Her colleague Brown traded stilettos for sensible low-heeled pumps.

M&Ms' new look. Note the female characters no longer wear go-go boots and higher heels.
M&Ms' new look. Note the female characters no longer wear go-go boots and higher heels. [ Courtesy of Mars ]

Mars says the new look aims to “increase a sense of belonging” and inclusion. It also looks like an attempt to move way from stereotypes even if it’s just subtle messaging in a candy commercial.

Considerable buzz followed. Saturday Night Live made its witty jokes. TV host Tucker Carlson ranted that the change was “less sexy” and the manufacturers wouldn’t be satisfied “until you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them,” commentary that got him soundly razzed on Twitter. Where, of course, Green M&M was trending.

So Mars’ marketing got its money’s worth, and the rest of us a momentary dose of frivolity when we found ourselves discussing what shoes a candy should wear.

In other consumer news, a recent piece in The Atlantic told us to stop “fetishizing” old homes, arguing that new construction is better “on nearly every conceivable measure.”

Given the current thirst for housing across America, this was another talker. In neighborhoods here at home in Tampa Bay, old bungalows sit next to imposing McMansions so new you can still smell the cut lumber. It makes for lively debate on Nextdoor sites.

Me, I will defend to the death the quirks of my 1920s home. Though I would sell my soul for a couple of decent-sized closets.

Then, for a little deli meat levity came the news of a cold-cut face mask.

In a nod to nostalgia — and that kid in the lunchroom who bit eye and nose holes out of a slice of bologna and draped it across his face for laughs — Oscar Mayer just released a truly odd “bologna-inspired” face mask. This also made national headlines, for obvious reasons.

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Yes, it's a bologna-inspired beauty product.
Yes, it's a bologna-inspired beauty product. [ Courtesy of Kraft Heinz ]

Though the hydrating pink mask looks disturbingly meat-like, it’s for skin care and involves no actual bologna. The packaging, however, is exactly like what you pulled out of the fridge with the mustard and Wonder Bread to slap together a sandwich back before kids started packing lunchbox sushi.

“Our bologna has a nickname and it’s B-E-A-U-T-Y,” says the product description on Amazon in a play on that old bologna jingle. At $4.99 a slice, it sold out immediately.

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