Unless you’ve been living under a pile of cashews you’ve likely heard the news that Mr. Peanut is no longer with us. Sacrificing himself to save his companions, Mr. Peanut fell to his death in this commercial that was going to be aired prior to kick-off during the Super Bowl pregame show.
According to Planters, they were going to, during the third quarter of the game, “broadcast Mr. Peanut’s funeral so the world can mourn the loss of the beloved legume together.” (Planters decided to delay the commercial after the death of Kobe Bryant and others in a helicopter crash on Sunday.)
The top hat, monocle-wearing peanut has been the Planters mascot and an advertising icon since 1916. At 104 years old you have to admire his stamina and staying power. OK, maybe it was time to retire but nobody saw this coming. But we should have known better. I began to think about how many food mascots we’ve lost over the years.
We still have the Dig ‘Em frog for Honey Smacks and the sugar bear on the box of Golden Crisps. Thank God we still have Tony the Tiger and Sonny the big-beaked bird that is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. We still have a Lucky Charms leprechaun and a goofy admiral for Cap’n Crunch. Toucan Sam still has a job promoting Froot Loops and bad spelling. But somewhere along the way we lost the monster supported cereals Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry.
Has anybody seen Ron lately? Ronald McDonald was the pasty face of McDonalds going back to the early ’60s. In the 2000s clowns began to be thought of as a bit creepy and were becoming less popular with children. In 2003, in an effort to revamp Ronald’s image, McDonald’s announced that the character had been promoted from mascot to “Chief Happiness Officer” — a new position created just for him, although the duties of the CHO were never described.
A Word to the Wise: When the boss says you’re being promoted to a new job within the company, a job that hasn’t previously existed, has no clear job description, and doesn’t come with a raise or an office, you may want to begin dusting off your resume.
Pillsbury Dough Boy
The cute pokable dough “boy” was in fact 71 years old when he was laid off in 2017. Age discrimination is real, folks.
Missing in action lately are the mischievous cows that have been trying to get us to "eat mor chikin." They’ve been replaced by a series of store managers and customers sitting on a couch. I don’t understand. Nothing made me crave a chicken sandwich more than seeing cows parachuting into a crowded football stadium.
Created by the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, that’s really a thing) the California Raisins burst onto the scene in a 1986 Sun Maid commercial singing Marvin Gaye’s 1968 hit “I Heard Through the Grapevine." The shriveled grapes left the stage in 1998, but not before “Grapevine” landed on Billboard’s Hot 100 and the group released four studio albums. No, I’m not kidding.
You Could Be Next, Boys
With the demise of Mr. Peanut some other food product mascots might want to sleep with one eye open.
The colorful, adorable and wise-cracking candies are marketing winners. For now. But any day they could go the way of the dodo bird, Pontiac and Daniel Radcliffe’s acting career.
Snap, Crackle, and Pop
I have a theory that the seven dwarfs who accompanied Snow White originally were a group of 10. But due to a contract dispute with Disney before filming began, three of the dwarfs jumped shipped and signed a deal with Kellogg’s to be the face of Rice Krispies.
Let’s face it. If it weren’t for Rice Krispie treats the cereal itself would have disappeared from the store shelves decades ago. Only a kitchen sponge has less taste and gets soggy in milk faster than Rice Krispies.
Go Back to the Woods!
OK, they’re not a food product mascot, but the Charmin bears have to go. Please! I realize that bathroom tissue is a competitive market and pitching toilet paper is probably not an advertising agency’s dream gig. And it’s not even the strange concept of bears, or any other animals, using toilet paper that bothers me so much. It’s their creepy enthusiasm about “enjoying the go.” Charmin, please, I beg you, bring back Mr. Wipple admonishing store customers caught squeezing a four-pack of toilet paper as if they were playing a small accordion.