A quirky turn for Mr. Peanut

Published 10:22 pm Tuesday, February 4, 2020

After a week and a half of promoting that Mr. Peanut had died, Planters ran a Super Bowl commercial on Sunday that felt like that terrible moment when you realize you accidentally bought the unsalted nuts.

For those who hadn’t heard the news since Jan. 22, Planters announced that day that Mr. Peanut had died in an accident. He was driving the Nutmobile when he swerved to avoid an armadillo, sending the vehicle careening off the edge of a mountainous road and sending the dapper nut, as well as his friends Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes, flying through the air.

The three cling to a branch, which begins to crack under their combined weight, and Mr. Peanut lets go to save his friends, apparently dying in the fiery explosion of the Nutmobile’s wreckage below.

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Planters told everyone to stay tuned to the Super Bowl to see Mr. Peanut’s funeral, but few people suspected that the Planters marketing icon was actually gone. Mr. Peanut was born in Suffolk, the product of local schoolboy Antonio Gentile, who drew an early version of Mr. Peanut at the behest of Planters founder Amedeo Obici.

In the funeral commercial, a tear from the Kool-Aid Man (Mr. Clean was also in attendance) sprouts a new plant on the freshly dug dirt of Mr. Peanut’s grave, bringing forth BabyNut. The nascent nut then began to chirp like a dolphin, for some reason, before declaring his return — and asking for his monocle.

The highly anticipated ad left most viewers wondering what in the world was going on. Most commercial review articles and consumer rating sites agreed it was pretty much a bomb.

The funeral commercial seemed quirky, to say the least, in a bad sort of way — so much so that many suspected that Planters’ marketing agency had changed it at the last minute. However, it strains credulity to imagine that the commercial — not to mention the BabyNut plush toy and BabyNut onesies you can put on your actual baby, now available online — could have been produced in 10 days or fewer.

In the end, it seems, Planters only killed off its beloved, 104-year-old mascot to bring him back again in the weirdest way. Now that we have BabyNut, we hope to see his story developed with an arc that makes some sort of sense.