Fans Build Small Shrine to Mr. Peanut in His Hometown After Brand Mascot 'dies' in TV Ad

The unexpected and untimely "death" on Wednesday of one of the world's most well-known snack food mascots compelled some mourners to build a small shrine around a statue of him.

Mr. Peanut, the mascot of Planters, made his first appearance in 1916, and, for over a century, he and his famous monocle and top hat were a staple of the company's advertisements.

However, in a pre–Super Bowl ad released Wednesday, the monocle-wearing peanut sacrificed his life to save his friends, actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. But more on that later.

Erin Miller, a journalist for news station WTKR, a CBS affiliate in eastern Virginia, posted a short video of a shrine to Mr. Peanut's memory on Twitter on Thursday afternoon. The video shows the statue of Mr. Peanut in the Suffolk, Virginia, visitor center. A number of items have been left at the statue in honor of the legendary legume: Flowers, a bag of Planters peanuts, copies of The Suffolk News-Herald, as well as what appears to be a framed photograph of the statue itself.

"Not all heroes wear capes... some wear an adorable top hat," Miller wrote in the tweet that the video was attached to. "A look at the small memorial growing at the #Suffolk visitors center for the legend, #MrPeanut."

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The affection some of the people of Suffolk exhibited for Mr. Peanut seems apt. After all, he has a long and storied history with the city, once known as the "Peanut Capital of the World."

According to the company's official website, Planters was created in Pennsylvania by Amedeo Obici, an Italian immigrant, in 1906. However, seven years later, Obici moved his business south in search of more fertile land. He eventually settled on Suffolk, where he built Planters' first mass-processing plant.

As reported by The Virginian-Pilot, in 1916, teenager Antonio Gentile, a Suffolk native, was awarded $5 after he won a contest to design the new mascot for Planters. What he came up with is the now-famous Mr. Peanut.

Thus, some consider Suffolk to be Mr. Peanut's "hometown"—so his loss, to the denizens of that city, might be particularly potent.

Titled "Road Trip," the ad shows Mr. Peanut driving in a car with actors Walsh and Snipes. After their vehicle goes off of a cliff, the trio cling to a branch hanging over a steep drop. Mr. Peanut voluntarily lets go of the branch so that the branch can continue to support the weight of his two friends. He falls onto what remains of their crashed vehicle, which promptly explodes.

Mr. Peanut's official Twitter account, which has since changed its name to "The Estate of Mr. Peanut," stated Wednesday morning that the professorial peanut had indeed perished. The statement also included a black-and-white image of Mr. Peanut's famous monocle with a teardrop in the corner, presumably to symbolize the sadness the estate felt at his passing.

"It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104. In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most," the tweet read. "Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut."

CNBC reported that the subject of the Planters TV spot scheduled to run during the Super Bowl on February 2 will be Mr. Peanut's funeral.

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Mr. Peanut
Mr. Peanut attends the 90th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2016 in New York City. The mascot "died" in January 2020, spurring some mourners to build a small shrine at his statue in Suffolk, Virginia. Noam Galai/Getty
Fans Build Small Shrine to Mr. Peanut in His Hometown After Brand Mascot 'dies' in TV Ad | U.S.