You wouldn’t think it if you looked at them — their candy shells are still so smooth! — but M&M’S turns 75 this year. The brand has been celebrating with high-profile music videos by musicians including Zedd and Aloe Blacc:
And remix artist Pogo!
Watching these two videos, which feature clips from classic M&M’S TV commercials, got me thinking: What aspects of today’s cultural landscape will (or will not) survive until 2091, aka 75 years from now? Let’s find out.
Though the first-ever “electronic mail” was sent way back in 1971, the idea of emailing as we know it didn’t take off until the 1990s; Hotmail, the first web-based email program, went live in 1996. Today, the average person sends and receives an incredible 212 emails a day. The bulk of that, though, comes from business users; people emailing friends and family is dropping off, in favor of texting and social media. Can business usage be far behind?
One of my best and earliest memories is seeing Willow on a massive single-screen rotunda theater. Though movie palaces like that are mostly long gone, they have been replaced by cineplexes with their own distinct appeal, from HD 3D projection to reserved seating in luxe leather recliners. And ticket revenues support the fact that, despite increasingly immersive home-entertainment options, people still want to go to the movies: Americans spent an incredible $11.1 billion on movie tickets last year.
Scope out the gridlocked highways into and out of any major American city at rush hour, and it becomes readily apparent that driving in the way we’ve been doing it since the automobile was first made available to the masses (in 1908) can’t hold out for much longer. That said, sci-fi has been promising us flying cars and other futuristic modes of transportation for so long that it’s possible this event horizon keeps getting pushed out forever.
Slang by its very nature is ephemeral. As soon as too many people start saying “rad,” rad becomes no longer rad, and the popular culture moves on to find another way of saying that X thing is boss, sick, sweet, dope, jake, lit, fire, fleek, or (as my colleagues have just now informed me) “dad” or “mom.” But “cool” — cool is the OG of slang. The classic term may have originated in African-American communities as far back as the 1880s (!), but it definitely had assumed the meaning it has today by the 1920s.
The candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand has already proved its staying power by being wildly popular since its debut in 1941. That makes sense, as an M&M is basically the atomic unit of candy measurement. It’s the U.S. dollar, the gold standard, the platonic ideal. Can you imagine an M&M-less future? I don’t even want to conjure such a grim scene. What would going to a movie or taking a road trip or any number of other fun things be without M&M’S? Way less good, I’ll tell you that.
Hunter Slaton is the Content Director for Studio@Gawker.