Planters taps Reginald VelJohnson in ‘Nutstalgic’ musical holiday spot

The 80s die hard in a nutty campaign for the iconic peanut brand

Published On
Dec 01, 2021

Editor's Pick

In one of the first campaigns created under new owner Hormel Foods, Planters is going back to the 1980s.

A new music video released this week features actor Reginald VelJohnson singing a cheerful ode to the holidays that celebrates cassette mixtapes, sweaters with shoulder pads—and references the cultural debate as to whether “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie. “Yes it is,” relates VelJohnson, who played Sergeant Al Powell in the 1988 film.

The spot bears several similarities to a Father’s Day campaign the brand released earlier this year that also featured a celebrity-led music video and giveaway. In that spot, comedian Anthony Anderson rapped about classic father behaviors.

VaynerMedia, Planters’ agency of record, is overseeing the campaign. Music was composed by Alan Wilkis of Squeak-E-Clean Studios and produced by Nick Doering. Adriana Robles of Tool directed both videos. Robles’s credits include  “Saturday Night Live” skits and Walmart ads.

The ad comes about six months after Hormel acquired the brand from Kraft Heinz for $3.35 billion. Hormel Foods officials have expressed ambitions to use the brand to complement its existing portfolio of packaged meats, penetrate new markets like convenience stores, and act as an anchor to a developing snacking business.

For now, the brand’s presence in holiday celebrations takes the spotlight. An associated contest offers consumers the chance to win a “Nutsalgia Box” of 80s-themed gifts—a colorful box containing retro Planters brand swag, classic board games, a Bluetooth cassette boombox and a classic movie on DVD.

The brand’s iconic spokesman, Mr. Peanut, has but a small presence in the campaign, appearing as a tree ornament and in décor. The monocled Mr. Peanut was one of the consumer packaged goods industry’s hardest-working figures in recent years, famously having been killed off in a much-discussed 2020 Super Bowl ad that was followed by a progression of spots charting his rebirth.

“Over the past 115 years, the Planters brand has been a part of everyone’s holiday celebrations. We are excited to keep this tradition alive by kicking off the holidays with a new music video featuring Reginald VelJohnson that reminds people what truly adds substance to the season,” said Jaynee Dykes, associate marketing director for Planters, in a statement. “We also want to spread the holiday cheer directly to our fans with our nutstalgia gift boxes, bringing people from past and present generations together to celebrate this season in a memorable way after a year apart.”

The effort continues a recent wave of nostalgia marketing during the pandemic that has seen brands including Pizza Hut, Cheetos, Carvel and others lean into their heritage to recall what felt like simpler times.