The M&M Christmas commercial is still popular a quarter of a century later

Cheryl E Preston

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Photo byVocal Media screenshot

Is that you Santa Claus?

The late Louis Armstrong had a holiday hit with "Is that You Santa Claus" in 1953 and the title is actually "Zat you Santa Claus." Armstrong is asking if the notice he hears is Chris Kringle bringing presents. I have wondered over the decades as I have watched television and movies if one of the actors might be the man in the red suit in the popular holiday favorite M&M Christmas commercial and jokingly asked "Zat you Santa Claus" but to date, there has been no answer.

Every Christmas season since 1996 the red and yellow M&M have a run-in with Santa where each is shocked that the other "really does exist." The closest I came to an identity was someone going by the name of BarSteve who has been quoted in Fansided, UPROXX, and other sources, saying the following in 2014.

“My friend is the stuntman who does the fall in this M&M commercial. Actors (including stunt performers) are supposed to get a small payment any time their work is shown (“residuals”), but for commercials, it’s pretty typical to just get paid 2x your rate up front in exchange for giving up your residuals. When my friend shot this commercial, he refused the extra up-front money and instead chose to keep his residuals. So for the last 18 years, he’s been getting somewhere between $5000 and $10,000 in residuals every Christmas. Extra presents for everyone!”

I found Santa Claus

I don't know why the information did not pull up when I wrote an article last year but this Christmas season I found several sources that identify the actor in the M&M holiday ad as Robert Machray. The voice of the red M&M was Billy West and the Yellow M&M was voiced by JK Simmons". Machray made a wise decision to choose residuals because he will have extra money for the holidays for the rest of his life. There are actors whose sitcoms continue to run-ins syndication 20 to 30 years later and they are not making any money from them.

Many like myself look forward to seeing this iconic commercial each year at this time and while many consider them mythological Santa and the M&Ms really do exist. The man in the red suit is based off of a real person named Bishop Nicholas or Saint Nicholas who gave candy to children during Christmas in the early 300s. As for the red and yellow M&Ms you see them every time you open a pack of those colorful chocolate candies.

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I write, about breaking news, and current events. I wrote a newspaper column from 1997 to 2007 and have written for various online platforms since 2012 including Yahoo Contributor Network, Hubpages, and Vocal Media.

Roanoke, VA
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