Why did they kill Mr. Peanut?
Mr. Peanut’s death was announced today, ending the 104 years that the animated character has served as the (apparently living) mascot for Planters Peanuts. The news was released via Mr. Peanut's Twitter account, in a perplexing notification that mimicked the somber death announcements from actual human beings.
“It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104,” the tweet read. “In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most. Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut”
Weird, right? Even weirder is the accompanying advertisement, which shows frame by frame, the events leading up to Mr. Peanuts’ horrible roadside death. The video, which will be aired during the Super Bowl LIV, shows Mr. Peanut and two friends, Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes, on a roadside trip in the Peanut van (certainly always a body dysmorphic experience for Mr. Peanut, who has been assigned human fears and limitations by Planters), when suddenly, the van careens off the road. Mr. Planter and his two friends are left hanging on desperately to a branch hanging over a canyon. The three bodies are too heavy. Mr. Peanut, at the young? Old? Middle-aged? age of 104, lets go of the branch, saving his two friends but sacrificing his protein-rich body to the depths of the canyon below.
It is simply atrocious. A few horrified Twitter users responded saying as much, turned off by the use of death as some sort of ploy to sell Americans more nuts.
But other brand accounts joined in on the gambit, offering words of love and memory for the false death of the nutty icon. Some publications even wrote scathing eulogies for the character.
It’s unclear if this is going to result in a rise from the ashes scenario, making Mr. Peanut some sort of bizarre Jesus-like figure of resurrection, or if this was an unnecessarily cinematic way for Planters to phase in a rebranding. Whatever it was, it was also a thirsting and desperate attempt for attention. Which you know, given it was Super Bowl advertisement, makes sense. There’s no more desperate time in marketing in America than the Super Bowl. But, it is still disturbing to watch dozens of brands playact human grief over the death of a brand’s cartoon symbol.
No matter what happens next with Mr. Peanut, Planters should’ve dug their own grave with this weird, disturbing ad. Instead, they’re trending on Twitter, inspiring plenty of other cringe-worthy jokes.