After vanishing from American store shelves for the last decade, Mars has brought Crispy M&M’s back from the grave. I first spotted their newly-minted bright green packages a month ago and by now they should be available across the country.
The return of a long-discontinued product is quite the confectionery occasion and one I wanted to acknowledge and herald here on the site. But more than simply celebrating their return, I’ll be taking a look at the history and global scope of M&M’s Crispy through the various packages I have in my collection. It’s colorful journey, so make the jump to check it out!
M&M’s Crispy were launched in the United States all the way back in 1998 during a time when the anthropomorphic M&M’s mascot characters were not included on small packages. Rather, M&M’s packs simply featured their flavor identification along with images of the candy each contained, backed by a distinctive color scheme. For their introduction, M&M’s Crispy came in a bright blue package that included a bold corner banner announcing they were “NEW”:
The television campaign for the introduction of M&M’s Crispy featured Orange, the ever-wanted M&M’s Crispy mascot character. Here are a few of those launch-year commercial spots:
Right around this time, the hugely popular M&M’s mascot cast began to be incorporated onto the standard packaging. Although the Orange character was already the featured mascot for M&M’s Crispy, he appears to have not shown up on the packages right away. So for early M&M’s Crispy packs, that meant a visit by the main M&M’s pitch men, Red and Yellow:
As far as I can tell, the earliest appearance of the Crispy Orange mascot on actual packages came in 2000, at least on packs in the United States:
The personality of Orange was one embodied by a paranoid fear, due to his delicious and coveted nature. So you often found the Orange mascot portrayed as hiding or fleeing:
On this 2003 package, the Orange mascot is inexplicably missing:
The missing Orange mascot on that 2003 package was perhaps a spot of ominous foreshadowing, as in the United States M&M’s Crispy would soon be discontinued.
In the years after M&M’s Crispy were retired, the US market saw at least two alternative attempts at a crispy-style M&M’s offering. The first was part of a 2006 premium boutique line that presented consumers with a Vanilla Crisp M&M’s candy:
Then, in 2008, the texture returned with the Indiana Jones-themed special edition flavor, Mint Crisp M&M’s:
Neither of those alternative crispy M&M’s lasted too long. But in other parts of the world, M&M’s Crispy never went away at all.
Launching not long after the USA roll-out of M&M’s Crispy, Mars Canada got them as well. Up north, the Orange mascot was included on those very first packs.
France got their own version of M&M’s Crispy in 2004:
In 2005 Australia celebrated the M&M’s Star Wars M-Pire promotion, which in that country included Crispy, as you can see here:
A couple of years later, the Dubai/UAE region received a limited edition run of M&M’s Crispy, which arrived in an unusual and distinctive red package:
Still, in most parts of the world, M&M’s Crispy was chugging along in their standard vibrant blue packaging, featuring their eternally fearful Orange mascot. And who could blame him? Not only was Orange delicious, but in 2010 in Australia he was left nude, and his shell was auctioned off on eBay.
Here are a few more recent examples of International M&M’s Crispy packages from around the globe:
So while M&M’s Crispy hadn’t been available stateside in a decade, they remained on-sale elsewhere around the planet. That lead to passionate American fans importing the treats to get their fix along with entertaining musings on their possible USA relaunch as well as a 2006 petition for their return.
Mars must have been paying attention because they finally decided to bring Crispy back to our shores. Unveiling them just over a month ago at the New York City M&M’s store with none other than Vanessa Williams (the voice of M&M’s Ms. Brown), Crispy M&M’s had returned.
While M&M’s Crispy made a triumphant return to American stores, they had to pick up a new wardrobe to make their re-entrance. You see, during the years of their absence, M&M’s Pretzel had been created for the US market and they not only took on Crispy’s distinctive blue package color but they also recruited the ever-fearful Orange mascot to represent them.
With their old color scheme and mascot being employed by Pretzel M&M’s, the relaunch of Crispy would now be wrapped in a striking green package and represented by Red:
Here’s a short spot featuring Red and Yellow announcing the return of Crispy M&M’s to “their fans”:
I happened to have a current Japanese M&M’s Crispy pack in my candy cabinet (which I had shipped from Japan late last year) when I found the new USA version last month, so I decided to do a quick candy comparison. Though the experience of eating them was similar and very enjoyable on both accounts, the new USA M&M’s Crispy candies generally appear a tad smaller than their Japan counterparts. What do you think?
I think it’s great that M&M’s Crispy have been resurrected for American audiences and I dig the color scheme they chose for their new package design. M&M’s Crispy look great and it’s fantastic to have this M&M’s family member back on my local store shelves.
And that’s everything I’ve got to share on the history and return of M&M’s Crispy! See you next time!