Planters Enters the Peanut Butter Business

Posted on March 13, 2012


While the regal Mr. Peanut has always been the face of Planters variety of nuts, it seems the new market proves a little too dangerous for him.


A goatee and sunglass sporting young peanut named Doug has stepped in for the more dangerous marketing stunts…all of which end up with him as peanut butter. In what would seem to be the most overdue marketing extension in history, Planters has finally decided to move into the peanut butter business.


Kraft Foods has decided to use the hundred year old brand to speed the growth of its already prime grocery business. And with already leading competitors Jif, Skippy, and Peter Pan jamming the shelf space, it’s a risky move. That’s why their marketing campaign needs to be flawless.


Forget the choosy mothers and lovable children’s icons, Kraft has decided to target adults for its sticky new product. According to research and Planters’ senior marketing director Triona Schmelter, adults consume two-thirds of the $1.8 billion of peanut butter sold in the US each year. With that in mind, Kraft wanted to find an adult friendly mascot to do their bidding- which lead them to a smug new peanut man and the voice of Kevin Dillon, who played Johnny Drama on HBO’s Entourage series.


The new marketing campaign is a sign that Kraft is becoming more aggressive in the grocery business, where the company (as well as many of its rivals) has been struggling to generate growth. Kraft hadn’t invested much in Planters prior to this expedition, allowing private-label snacks and rivals like Diamond Foods to take over their business. From 2005 to 2010 Planters sales throughout the US (excluding Wal-Mart) had dropped 12 percent.


Having a dull mascot didn’t help. Despite is suave appearance, the manacled Mr. Peanut didn’t speak and was human sized, which eventually left him indistinguishable from a sports team mascot. A 2010 revamp made Mr. Peanut small with the voice of Robert Downey Jr. Sales went up.

After realizing that peanut butter consumers recognize and buy Planters brand nuts, joining the market seemed like a no brainer. That combined with a weak economy had Kraft ready to roll. They decided to recession stricken adult consumers new ways to use this cheap protein source. At an event in June, Planters was showcased with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, who demonstrated recipes such as peanut butter yogurt and peanut butter soup.


While Doug the peanut man and adult orientated recipes might have gotten Kraft’s new product off the ground, sustaining earnings will be a tough job. In order to continue to target specific age groups or other demographics throughout the US, using accurate visual aids is essential. MarketMAPS provides businesses like Kraft Foods with visual tools that combine accurate geography with any level of demographic data. Combined with custom logos, icons, labels, icons, or anything else you could need, we have a solution for all of your planning needs.


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