Mr. Peanut, the world’s most famous legume, is dead, according to his longtime employer, Planters. He was 104.
The jaunty and jovial pitchman recognized around the globe for his rakish top hat, trusty cane, and eccentric monocle, died during a pre-Super Bowl ad. Fans around the world reacted with social media enthusiasm and skepticism but in the advertising world there was a sense that an era had passed.
Planters, the snack company, posted the ad on social media, a move that some critics said was rubbing salt in a fresh wound. The ad shows Mr. Peanut in a car accident in the Nutmobile and, making the scenario nuttier, the famous snack mascot was inexplicably accompanied by Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh.
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The footage shows the Nutmobile misadventure left the trio dangling from a tree branch that began to splinter from their combined weight. In the end, Mr. Peanut let go, sacrificing himself to save his companions.
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Mr. Peanut was introduced in 1916 and kept smiling through two World Wars, the Depression, and the frightening white-mold rot crisis of 2012 that threatened his crunchy kind. Mr. Peanut’s death reduces the number of monocle-wearing mascots in pop culture to one: Eustace Tilley of The New Yorker. (It’s unclear, meanwhile, whether Colin Farrell will be wearing a monocle as the Penguin in next year’s The Batman film.)
Not everyone joined the tearful outpouring of grief. Conspiracy theorists were skeptical that Mr. Peanut did in fact die. Many postulated that Planters might be playing a shell game that pays off during Super Bowl LIV. Dismissive non-fans, meanwhile, predicted a quick replacement for the icon and noted that it would be hard for Planters to stop with just one.
Super Bowl LIV pits the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida. The game will air on Fox, and the price of a 30-second commercial is $5.6 million, which makes the usual rate look like peanuts.
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