We have only ever discussed the trials and tribulations of Mr. Peanut reluctantly. That’s because the staff of The Takeout has seen enough overzealous ad campaigns to last us a lifetime, and no campaign in history has been conducted with as much baseless enthusiasm as Planters’ Baby Nut saga, a (perhaps somewhat self-aware) grab for a piece of the Baby Yoda pie.
You’ll remember that back in January of this year, Mr. Peanut perished in a freak accident, one that involved an honorable act of self-sacrifice. But this occurred suspiciously close to Super Bowl Sunday, aka the Marketers’ Bacchanal, so it was widely suspected that this death was just paving the way for a mid-game resurrection of the longtime Planters mascot. That’s exactly what happened, and in quite a literal sense: Baby Nut was born. And in the months since, Baby Nut has been foisted upon an unwilling public, gracing Planters packaging and tweeting from the @MrPeanut account.
But now, we’ve learned that Baby Nut is a mascot that ages in much the same way as children on long-running soap operas—that is, he’s whatever age his creators need him to be in order to advance the plot. So today, an even less appealing iteration of Baby Nut has appeared: Peanut Jr.
If you’re asking “But... why?” let me assure you that I absolutely cannot help you. (In fact, when I went sifting through Twitter for the original tweet in which this “transformation” took place, I realized that I had blocked @MrPeanut at some point long ago.) In an utterly exhausting statement to Business Insider, Planters explained that “Time moves fast in peanut years and Baby Nut hit a magical growth spurt that caused him to grow from a baby legume to 21-year-old Peanut Jr.” Look... fine. The peanut can drink, I guess. The peanut... has freckles and a hat. And a driver’s license. This is all just the reality we live in now. Business Insider did explain why any of this might be happening, however, and for that I thank them:
Planters said that people who had or will have a birthday during quarantine have a chance to win $2,100 in cash from the brand. Three people who share their ideal birthday gift with the #MakeMyBirthdayNuts and #Sweepstakes hashtags on Twitter will get the cash delivered to them by the “iconic NUTmobile.”
Maybe someday Planters will hit upon an iteration of Mr. Peanut as beloved as the original, or at least one that’s less despised than whatever we’re stuck with now. What would that look like? An even older peanut than the one we’ve always known? A wizened, Gandalf-type nut? A purely theoretical nut that exists outside of time and space? A nut with a slightly more fashionable hat? We’ll keep brainstorming.