Shell-shocked brands mourn the death of Mr. Peanut
On Wednesday, Planters confirmed it has indeed killed off its spokesnut, the 104-year-old, monocle-wearing Mr. Peanut, and will be airing a funeral for the legume in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The nut met his crushing demise while saving the lives of his friends (Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh) in a pregame ad.
On social, Mr. Peanut’s Twitter account (changed to The Estate of Mr.Peanut) tweeted out a loving tribute for the nut, encouraging people to “pay their respects” with the hashtag #RIPeanut.
Brands, along with the public, were shell-shocked. Competitors in the snack world like Snickers and Oreo shared remarks, as well as TV shows like "The Late Show" and "Jeopardy." By the afternoon, #RIPeanut was trending on Twitter with more than 15,000 tweets. Cue the puns: “Rest in Peanuts;” “He shell be missed;” “A nutty end.”
It’s not the first brand to bring the theme of death to the Super Bowl. Last year, Bud Light killed off its Bud Knight, and later revived him. While AB InBev was able to pull that off, not all brands have had the best reception to a morbid theme. After all, the Big Game is generally a time for celebration. In 2014, Nationwide aired a commercial portraying the death of a young boy from a preventable injury. It sparked backlash and was critiqued for using a boy’s death to sell insurance.
Regardless of whether this will be the final time we’ll be seeing Mr.Peanut, he’s certainly getting a nice send-off, and Planters is getting plenty of publicity ahead of its Super Bowl spot.
Join Ad Age on Jan. 28 as we bring together some of the top brands, agencies and creatives, including Hyundai, BBDO, Sabra hummus, Madonna Badger, Pop-Tarts and WeatherTech, to discuss what it takes to pull off a Super Bowl commercial.