I know that in sports, as the saying goes, “No guts, no glory.” I’m also aware that advertising is a cut-throat business. But the Planters brand has gone too far.
They killed Mr. Peanut. At 104 years of age, the legume icon was driving to the Super Bowl and swerved his NUTmobile to avoid an armadillo on the road.
The car went off a cliff and although Mr. Peanut and his friends caught a nearby branch just in time, it couldn’t hold them all. Mr. P decided to sacrifice himself and let go while his friends watched in horror. He landed near the NUTmobile which then exploded into flames.
Now, it’s bad enough that we have to lose a more-than-a-century-old embodiment of munchy goodness. But did we have to watch the spokesnut die like he was just an extra in the Fast & Furious franchise?
So let’s look at this rationally. No offence to the senior set, but why was a 104-year-old still driving?
And who was in the vehicle with him? None other than Mr. 90’s Action-Movie Hero, Wesley Snipes. He’s battled vampires and terrorists. He managed to elude U.S. Marshalls and saved a president. And yet Wesley couldn’t come up with an alternative to mascot-cide?
Furthermore, muscle weighs more than legumes. So Mr. P was likely the lightest of the three on the branch. One of the others should have made the sacrifice.
After more than a century, he was a part of our culture. Mr. Peanut showed up in my house every Christmas. He also played a starring role in a 104 degree fever-induced dream while I was in hospital. And I can’t be alone in this. A giant-sized peanut with arms, legs, and a top hat is the stuff of hallucinations.
Furthermore, only a handful of advertising mascots have surpassed the Nut-scot’s longevity. The Michelin Man – actual name is “Bibendum” – is 122. The Morton Salt Umbrella Girl is 106.
Meanwhile, the Jolly Green Giant is still walking his fields at 95. Did they put him out to pasture when the grey started creeping in? No. They gave him a now 47-year-old side-kick named Sprout.
Even Snap, Crackle and Pop are only 88 and 84, respectively. (Snap was originally a solo act for Rice Crispies.) Miss Chiquita Banana is a youthful 76. Meanwhile Trix the Rabbit is still stealing children’s cereal at 63 and Mr. Clean continues to scrub away at 62.
The Planters Powers-that-Be announced “their” loss in a Tweet on January 22. A tweet. Did he not deserve better?
And couldn’t they have let Mr. Peanut quietly retire? Because the fact that cameras were rolling and caught the action for our viewing pleasure tells me one thing: this was no accident.
Someone bought off that armadillo.
And now the suits are planning to air his funeral during the Super Bowl. Likely to sell more nuts.
Personally, I think this bloody marketing stunt is dead on arrival. But I’ll still bow my head for the big guy. #RIPeanut.