The Reason Planters Debuted Baby Nut At The Super Bowl

While Planters held to its promise to back off on any "death of Mr. Peanut"-related promotions after Kobe Bryant's tragic helicopter crash, and they also refrained from showing the original commercial killing off the iconic brand mascot during the pre-game show, they never abandoned the funeral ad planned to air during the game.

For good reason, as it turns out — while the commercial began on a gloomy note, it ended up giving us the promise of new hope with the unexpected arrival of Baby Nut. The commercial might also have unintentionally served as a harbinger of how the game itself would turn out, with a lot of unexpected late-breaking action going to show that it ain't over 'til it's over — and sometimes, not even then.

The funeral of Mr. Peanut

The commercial opened, as promised, with a funeral service led by Wesley Snipes who, you may recall, had been involved in that deadly NUTMobile accident along with the late Mr. Peanut. Also in attendance was the third road-trip companion, comedian Matt Walsh. Most prominent among the mourners were several of the brand icons who'd publicly mourned Peanut's passing on social media — Mr. Clean, who'd tweeted, "Always classy, always crunchy, always cleaned up nicely. We'll miss him! #RIPeanut," and the Kool-Aid Man, who'd tweeted "#RIPeanut #PourOneOut" along with a sad pic of himself emptying out a glass of his eponymous beverage.

It was Kool-Aid Man, in fact, who served as the catalyst for Peanut's rebirth. As he clutched Mr. Clean for support, sugary tears began to flow. One of them trickled down onto the mound of earth that covered the shell once holding the world's best-known goober. Suddenly, green shoots appeared and quickly grew into a plant. Out of that plant amazingly popped a tiny baby peanut, complete with top hat and spats. As the mourners — and millions of TV viewers — looked on incredulously, Baby Nut spoke, "Just kidding, I'm back! Where's my monocle?"

Why Mr. Peanut was reborn

So why did Planters choose such a dramatic ad makeover? The brand promised that in light of the Kobe Bryant tragedy, they would "evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity," and a rebirth is certainly a happier outcome than the originally planned funeral.

AdAge also speculates that having the aging legume reappear in the form of an adorable mini-P might remind movie-goers of Baby Groot, the Groot-reboot that occurred when the original vocabulary-limited tree-man perished at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Others might, perhaps, see some similarities to Baby Yoda from the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. Still others — nostalgia fans or those with very long memories — might recall how Spock was revived in Star Trek III through the agency of the Genesis Device.

Whatever the intent, Planters has certainly succeeded in getting our attention, and, after the initial shock and anger that their original ad campaign engendered, rewarding us with an "aw" moment that was one of Super Bowl LIV's most memorable commercials.