In this recently re-posted column: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_355a.html
Cecil discusses the color mix of M&Ms. However, following their “find the colors” promotion earlier this year, M&Ms have gone to a “brighter” color mix. (see their website: http://us.mms.com/us/news/news/press6.jsp) As far as I can tell, this means fewer reds and browns and more of the other colors. I recently opened a bag of peanut M&Ms with exactly one brown and one red. That was probably something of a statistical anomaly, but still, it would have been far less likely with the old color mix.
Also, “light browns” were replaced with blues some time ago.
Despite what the company alleges, I personally refuse to believe that the typical brown-and-yellow-intensive proportion is what the majority of the public would prefer. Everybody knows people like the reds, blues, and greens the best. The M&M Illuminati are clearly a bunch of lying bastards.
The amounts of the various colors is of interest. However, the mystery of how they get an “m” (a single “m”, no less) on each and every piece of candy is truly astonishing. I do not think I have ever seen a double, or one missing. The sheer numbers are probably staggering. Putting a man on the moon is impressive, but this feat is incredible!
Over here in the UK we have ‘Penguin’ biscuits. These are sold in a packet of six and, though the biscuits inside are exactly the same, come in three different coloured wrappers. Each pack contains three red, two green and one blue wrapped biscuit. I remember as a kid fighting tooth and nail to get the blue one…
I don’t know what kind of testing they used, but there are flavor differences in m and m’s colorings. At least there were with the standard colors of a few years ago.
I never believed that there was a taste difference, but when I saw it with my own eyes I have to believe.
One of our youth said she only liked certain kinds (like yellow and red or whatever), we all said “you can’t tell the difference” and she challenged us, we blindfolded her (quite thorough - she could not see) and gave her individual mand m’s and she got the color correct every time. She would suck on them (not biting into the chocolate) and evidently had practiced some because she could pick each one based on the flavor of the colored coating.
I always heard that the “greens” would make you horny; alternatively, giving someone only the green M&Ms was equivalent to propositioning them. Similarly, eating green M&Ms in the sight of the object of your affections was supposed to indicate amorous desire.
I heard all this in junior high and high school - certainly not when I was preschool aged. However, I was in JH & HS a few short years after this column appeared, so perhaps the “green” connotations had changed by then. Or maybe it was a geographical thing - I grew up in the West Coast.
You’re not allowing for the “real fish knives” factor. People liked the original M&Ms colors because they were the original M&Ms colors. Now Mars has learned to play the changed-cosmetics publicity game (though no-one since has done it as well as Calso did half a century ago), and everyone likes the new-and-improved M&M colors because they are the new-and-improved M&Ms colors.
Marathon is now the name of a different bar in the US, an “energy bar.” I don’t think any Marathon bar existed in the US when the chocolate-peanuts-caramel-nougat bar was called by that name in Britain.
As for other cases of using the same name to refer a different product, it seems that Mars bars, which in the US contain almonds, are almondless in the UK. I forget exactly what a British Mars bar comprises–I remember ir being like a US Milky Way, but subtly different. A British Milky Way is also different, more like a US Three Musketeers, but again, different (I forget just how–plain whipped nougat instead of chocolate whipped nougat?).
Actually, it occured to me that there is now an Almond Snickers in the US! Does this mean that Mars bars no longer exist here? They were always a bit hard to find, so their disapearence could easily have gone unnoticed by me, especially as I don’t eat many candy bars.
There used to be a Marathon bar in the US that was a braided caramel bar. It was about a foot long, and sold in a red wrapper with yellow writing. It is similar to the Curly Wurly sold in the UK. I’m not certain whether it overlapped the time period that the Marathon/Snickers bar was sold in the UK, but if it didn’t, it predated it.
More on the U.S. Marathon than you wanted to know, with a photo of the wrapper, a history, and a bit about the change in name of the UK Snickers. It doesn’t say when the UK Marathon/Snickers was introduced, but the U.S. Marathon only lasted from 1973-1981.