Mr. Peanut

When I was a kid I had a red plastic Mr. Peanut bank that I got by mailing in boxtops or proofs-of-purchases, something redeemable in that vein; I’m a little fuzzy on what. I gamely tried to use it but being that he was mostly skinny legs, it was a poor shape for a bank, even if I did only have a paltry sum of money. I let him go and I kind of regret that now.

What got me to thinking about this was being struck by a Planters ad included with the coupon inserts. Scratch that line, it sounds funny. I noticed it. I never really thought about him before. With his top hat, monocle, cane, and white gloves, Mr. Peanut is decked out like a British dandy. Don’t peanuts live on farms? Wouldn’t a straw hat, pitchfork and pipe be more like it?

I’m not one to sit complacently by while there are great mysteries of the universe to be solved. To Wikipedia I went.

Turns out in 1916 a 14 year-old won a contest held by Planters to create a company logo. The young man’s drawing of a peanut man was embellished by an artist who added the dandy-style accessories still seen on Mr. Peanut today. Huh!

More recently the company held an online contest to see if they should add a “bow tie, cufflinks, or a pocket watch” to Mr. Peanut’s ensemble, but it was voted down. Wikipedia doesn’t say whether the public simultaneously got to vote on adding a “Kick Me” sign to him.

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