Planters Nut & Chocolate Company is an American snack food company now owned by Hormel. Planters is best known for its processed nuts and for the Mr. Peanut icon that symbolizes them. Mr. Peanut was created by grade schooler Antonio Gentile for a 1916 contest to design the company's brand icon. The design was modified by a commercial artist and has continued to change over the years.
Planters was founded by Italian immigrant Amedeo Obici in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He started his career as a bellhop and fruit stand vendor in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Obici later moved to Wilkes-Barre, opened his own fruit stand, and invested in a peanut roaster. Obici turned peddler within a few years, using a horse and wagon, and calling himself "The Peanut Specialist". In 1906, Obici entered a partnership with Mario Peruzzi, the soon to be owner of Planters. Peruzzi had developed his own method of blanching whole roasted peanuts, doing away with the troublesome hulls and skins; and so with six employees, two large roasters, and crude machinery, Planters was founded. Amedeo Obici believed that prices and first profits were as important as repeat business, focusing his operation on quality and brand name for continued success. Two years later, the firm was incorporated as Planters Nut and Chocolate Company. By 1913, Obici had moved to Suffolk, Virginia, the peanut capital of the world, and opened Planters' first mass production plant and facility there. It was acquired by Standard Brands in 1960. In 1981, Standard Brands merged with Nabisco Brands, which was acquired by Kraft Foods in 2000. Kraft subsequently merged with the H.J. Heinz Company to form Kraft Heinz in 2015.
On January 22, 2020, Planters released a teaser for its Super Bowl LIV commercial featuring Mr. Peanut with Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. The trio were shown hanging onto a branch after accidentally driving the Nutmobile off a cliff, with Mr. Peanut electing to let go and fall to his presumed death, and the Nutmobile on the ground suddenly exploding. The company's social media outlets declared Mr. Peanut to have died, although a company spokesperson told Advertising Age that they had not ruled out the scenario being a comic book death. However, Planters pulled the ad and the marketing for it five days later after the death of Kobe Bryant.
Planters suspended the campaign shortly after the 2020 Calabasas helicopter crash which resulted in the death of everyone on board the flight, including former NBA player Kobe Bryant on January 26. They eventually resumed the campaign with the Super Bowl commercial, which showed Snipes and Walsh presiding over the funeral of Mr. Peanut, also attended by fellow mascots Kool-Aid Man and Mr. Clean. However, Kool-Aid Man's tears combined with sunlight cause a new, younger incarnation of Mr. Peanut, dubbed "Baby Nut", to grow from the soil.
The campaign faced a mixed reaction from viewers, while comparisons were drawn between the character and other juvenile incarnations of characters seen in media, such as "Baby Yoda" of The Mandalorian, and Groot.
Explaining the intent of the campaign, a spokesman for Planters's advertising agency cited the examples of superhero deaths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for how such a death could connect with viewers and potential customers.
In August 2020, a continuation of the campaign launched, where Baby Nut is revealed to have aged into a 21 year-old young adult, "Peanut Jr." This decision resulted in much more volatile reactions than Baby Nut's campaign, with a tweet encouraging others to block Peanut Jr.'s account becoming viral.
Advertising taglines have included:
- "The Nickel Lunch!" – peanuts/peanut bars (1930s–1940s)
- "Planters is the word for (good) Peanuts." (Various products – 1950s)
- "America is Nuts for Planters" (1970s)
- "Everybody Loves a Nut!" (1990s)
- "Peanut butter with a crunch." (P.B. Crisps – 1992)
- "Relax. Go Nuts." (Deluxe Mixed Nuts – 1997)
- "Put Out the Good Stuff." (Various products – 2003)
- "Instinctively Good." (Various products – 2007)
- "Naturally Remarkable." (Various products – 2011)
- "Deliciously NUT-RITIOUS." (UK range – 2016)
- "Harness the Power of the Peanut"
- "A Nut Above"
- Cheez Balls (discontinued and reintroduced in 2018)
- Cheez Curls (discontinued and reintroduced in 2018)
- Cocktail Peanuts
- Cooking oil
- CornNuts (acquired in late 1990s)
- Chocolate Covered Cashews
- Dry Roasted Peanuts
- Dry Roasted Sunflower kernels
- Honey Roasted Peanuts
- Honey Roasted Cashews
- Hot Peanuts
- Mixed Nuts
- Salted Cashews
- Salted Peanuts
- Salted Redskin Spanish Peanuts
- Tavern Nuts (discontinued and reintroduced in 2009)
- Smoked Almonds
- Peanut Butter
- Potato Chips
- Salted Caramel Peanuts
- Cocoa Peanuts
- Chipotle Peanuts
- Chili and Lime Peanuts
- Sea Salt and Vinegar
- Heat Peanuts
- Smoked Peanuts
- Sweet N' Crunchy Peanuts
- Nut Clusters
- Jumbo Block Peanut Candy (presumably discontinued)
- Coconut Balls
- Corn Chips
- P.B. Crackers
- P.B. Crisps (introduced in 1992)
- Peanut Bar
- Peanut Butter candies
- Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies
- Onion Peanuts
- Garlic Peanuts
- Dry Roasted Cashews
- Dry Roasted Peanuts (original version)
While used under license from Kraft Canada, Planters in Canada is made by JVF Canada. Some Planters items do not use the Planters name, but are sold under the Kraft brand name in Canada. As of 2015, Planters Peanut Butter and Kraft Peanut Butter are both available.
As of 2016, Planters has launched into the United Kingdom with a range of 14 products under the tagline "Deliciously NUT-RITIOUS". Planters in the UK is made by Trigon Snacks Trading Ltd. at their factory in Aintree in Liverpool.
Planters Peanut store in Raleigh, North Carolina, 1950s
- "Planter's History of the Planter Nut". Retrieved December 1, 2008.
- History of Planters Peanuts
- "Kraft Heinz Co (KHC) Announces Completion of Merger; Updates on Next Steps; Announces Dividend". streetinsider.com. July 2, 2015. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
- "Planters Pauses Mr. Peanut Funeral Ad Campaign After Kobe Bryant Death". NBC News. January 27, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2020.
- "Here's How Mr. Peanut Was Resurrected During the Super Bowl". Adweek. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
- Farokhmanesh, Megan (2020-02-03). "Twitter boots Planters' Baby Nut meme accounts for violating its rules". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-02-18.
- "Baby Nut or Baby Yoda? Planters' Super Bowl commercial sparks debate". Global News. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
- Yeo, Amanda. "The internet wants to grind Baby Nut into peanut butter for Baby Yoda". Mashable. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
- "Planters ad agency VaynerMedia explains why they killed off Mr. Peanut". CNBC. January 23, 2020. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
- "Remember Baby Nut? This year is so strange that the Planters character is now 21". adage.com. 2020-08-11. Retrieved 2020-08-11.
- Bradley, Diana (August 11, 2020). "A shellebration turns salty: Why #BlockMrPeanut is trending". PRWeek.
- Lucas, Amelia (2021-02-11). "Kraft Heinz sells nuts business, including Planters, to Hormel for $3.35 billion". CNBC. Retrieved 2021-02-11.
- Molina, Brett. "Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls are coming back". URL. Retrieved 8 January 2019.
- Nichols, Daisy (October 4, 2017). "Salted Peanuts Aren't Always Vegan". The Daily Meal.
- "Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts 16 oz Jar". Planters.com. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
Ingredients: Peanuts, contains 2% or less of: sea salt, spices (contains celery), dried onion, dried garlic, paprika, natural flavor, sugar, gelatin, torula yeast, cornstarch, dried corn syrup, maltodextrin.
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