SPOILER ALERT: In an advertisement for Planters that will air during the upcoming Super Bowl, Mr. Peanut dies while saving actor Wesley Snipes and comedian Matt Walsh. The trio is hanging precariously from a branch on the side of a cliff, according to the ad, when Mr. Peanut lets go to help Snipes and Walsh survive. According to reports, Planters considered pulling the spot after the death of Kobe Bryant but, ultimately, decided to run it.

Cary Hatch, CEO, MDB Communications, commented on the life and times of Mr. Peanut:

It is with great sadness that I reflect on the passing of Mr. Peanut.

Mr. Peanut, at 104 years old, was one of the most recognizable and legendary icons in the advertising world. He continues to be one of the greatest examples of what companies across the world strive for, an effective, lovable, and renowned spokesperson that transcends generations.

From humble beginnings in 1916, ten years after the foundation of Planters Nut and Chocolate factory, founder and chairman Amedeo Obici understood the need for a recognizable logo that would set Planters apart from the competition and establish Planters as a household name. Obici came up with a “revolutionary” idea, a nationwide contest open to all ages, with a prize for the best logo creation, five dollars.

That prize money went to a fourteen year-old Virginia schoolboy by the name of Antonio Gentile. Antonio’s drawing of a shelled peanut with arms and legs called “Mr. Peanut” was dubbed the winning entry and was selected from a pool that included submissions from a slew of amateur and professional artists.

Designers at Planters decided to take Antonio’s character and add the top hat, monocle and cane to create the debonair image of Mr. Peanut that we all know and love today. Since his birth, Mr. Peanut has appeared extensively in television commercials as an animated, and more recently social media character complete with the accompaniment of an “elegant accented” narrator.

Mr. Peanut has gone through a number of renaissances in recent decades. While he had a long and storied history, Mr. Peanut had rarely been given a voice all his own. Planters made the move to give the iconic character new life with the aid of actor Robert Downey, Jr.  Planters proceeded to launch a $30 million “character revitalization” campaign to re-ignite customers.

We’ll all be tuning into the Super Bowl to learn more about his valor and loyalty to his friends and his untimely demise. (One does wonder…could he make a miraculous comeback?)

As of today, Mr. Peanut leaves behind millions of loyal fans; he will be greatly missed  – but never more so than by this advertising icon fanatic. #RIPeanut

MDB Communications is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.  

(Pictured above: Mr. Peanut made a guest appearance at ADWKDC 2010 and is shown with Cary Hatch and Stuart Elliott, former New York Times advertising columnist.

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