A new and ‘improved’ Mr. Peanut

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Every year, a couple of Super Bowl ads will be funny, but they’ll come and go having barely let us know what the product is that’s being sold. While entertaining and maybe more memorable than the football game, such commercials turn out to have been a total waste of $3 million for 30 seconds.

By this standard, I suppose the new Planters TV ad is an excellent commercial.

It certainly qualifies as memorable, but sort of along the same lines as a trailer for a Saw movie is vivid and attention-grabbing.

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Stays in my mind for a few extra minutes? Yes. Makes me want to shell out $10 and brave two hours of Saw XIII? Gives me a craving for snack food? No and, albeit to a lesser degree, no.

The Planters ad has a holiday theme and I’ve seen it during a couple football games, so even if you haven’t seen it, there’s more than a month of the holiday season and hundreds of NFL games and bowl games to go, so it’ll be impossible to avoid.

Mr. Peanut, the new-age, more mature, computer-animated one, is hosting a holiday party. Initially, it sets up as a funny idea and a good theme.

A Yao Ming-sized cricket at the bar is sort of strange. There’s a sense of not knowing some bit of Planters history or missing out on an inside joke with the massive cricket.

Then a nutcracker walks in the front door and apologizes. We see Mr. Nutcracker and Mr. Peanut apparently had a bar-room scuffle the night before with Mr. Peanut coming out on the short end.

With the ugly injury and the new revelation about Mr. Peanut’s nightlife, my ick-meter is already rising at a steady clip.

After momentarily welcoming Mr. Nutcracker into the party, Mr. Peanut’s about to get it again as he turns his back.

Mr. Peanut spins and shoves something into Mr. Nutcracker’s open gullet. Everyone in the room loves it, yucking it up with Mr. Peanut.

I’m not sensitive enough to claim Planters is encouraging gang violence or anything along those lines. I just think whole idea’s too weird to make me want to buy peanuts.

Whatever the marketing campaign, I appreciate the combination of honey roasted peanuts and an NFL Sunday. As a Suffolkian, I like taking Planters off the shelf.

However, during timeouts of the Thanksgiving football games, you might want to have the remote handy in case kids are in the room.