- Kraft Heinz's Planters brand of nuts this week launched a holiday campaign that features an "older, wiser and more dapper" version of Mr. Peanut, who this year had been reborn as Baby Peanut before growing into a 21-year-old Peanut Jr., per an announcement shared with Marketing Dive. Planters revealed in a Twitter post that Peanut Jr. has matured into a 50-year-old named Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe, or "Bart" for short.
- The holiday campaign includes a 30-second spot depicting an animated Bart walking through a wintry village with a talking snowman, who explains that the holidays are "The Nuttiest Time of the Year" and a perfect occasion for giving the gift of Planters nuts. Planters worked with VaynerMedia on the spot.
- Planters also introduced holiday-themed merchandise on its e-commerce site, including holiday sweaters, hats, scarves, mittens, socks and a Nutmobile ornament, a tactic increasingly used by brands to build first-person relationships with consumers.
Planters opted for a light mood with its holiday-themed campaign that urges people to enjoy the spirit of giving, as Mr. Peanut matures into a middle-aged named "Bart." While the brand's spot shows its holiday-themed packaging only at the end, Planters is offering a range of gift merchandise on its e-commerce site. The offering is consistent with other brands that have developed clothing and collectibles to appeal to their most loyal fans. Babybel cheese, Dunkin Donuts, McDonald’s and Sour Patch Kids also have opened online shops to reach customers directly. Other brands, such as Frito-Lay, General Mills and Pine-Sol, have offered to donate merchandise proceeds to charitable causes.
Planters' introduction of Bart follows last week's launch of its holiday merchandise with a contest on social media that offered cash prizes to people who participated in a game to spin and match the designs of the mascot's ugly holiday sweater. Planters is giving away a $10,000 grand prize, along with $1,000 a day until the end of the year as part of its holiday campaign. By asking consumers to enter their contact information to enter the contest, Planters can build its database of first-party information about consumers who have opted in to receive promotional material from Kraft Heinz brands. As marketers seek to improve their ad targeting in the face of stricter consumer privacy laws and limitations on online audience tracking by technology companies, first-party data are becoming much more valuable.
Planters almost has come full circle in restoring Mr. Peanut to his previous form in its year-long marketing strategy that started in January in the lead-up to the Super Bowl. In a pre-game spot, Mr. Peanut sacrificed himself to save his friends, actor Wesley Snipes and comedian Matt Walsh, after the nutmobile crashed and fell off a cliff. Out of respect for NBA star Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash with eight others including his teenage daughter a week before the Super Bowl, Planters suspended the #RIPeanut campaign as the public mood soured. Mr. Peanut later was reborn as Baby Peanut and by August had matured into a Gen Zer named Peanut Jr. ready to buy his first beer.