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Mr. Peanut -  The sophisticated image of Mr. Peanut with his top hat, monocle (over his right eye), spats, white gloves and cane was the result of a contest held in 1916 by the Planter's Nut & Chocolate Company of Sulfolk, Virginia (originally located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania).

Mr. Peanut Web Site

The company hoped to find just the right image to use as a trademark to promote their salted Virginia peanut products. The contest winner was a 14-year-old schoolboy named Antonio Gentile. Planters awarded the teenager a grand prize of $5. His design, a crude peanut person with arms and crossed legs dubbed "Mr. Peanut," became the permanent trademark of Planters Peanuts. After, of course, a professional graphic artist added a top hat, monocle, white gloves and cane to Gentile's original concept. 

Founded in 1906 (incorporated in 1908), the Planter's Company began in 1896 as a small fruit stand business created by an Italian immigrant named Amedeo Obici (born in 1876 in the small town of Oderzo near Venice, Italy). Here are some events in the company history:

  • In 1918, Planters first advertised in the Saturday Evening Post.  
  • In 1942, the Mr. Peanuts billboard first appeared in New York's Time Square (returned in 1999).
  • The first TV commercials with the debonair Mr. Peanut were seen in the 1950s.
  • In 1961, Standard Brands purchased Planters Peanut and Chocolate Company (Nabisco merged with Standard Brand in 1981).
  • In 1962, Planters introduced Dry Roast Peanuts (1985 for Honey Roasted).
  • In 1997, Mr. Peanut appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • In 1999, Mr. Peanut became the "official snack" of NASCAR.

Currently, Planters Peanuts is a subsidiary of Kraft Foods North America, Inc. in Glenview, IL 60025. The company's campaign in recent years has been handled by the Benton & Bowles Advertising Agency.

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