Peanuts for Sale
Now’s your chance to own Charlie Brown.
MetLife, an insurance company known for, uh, selling insurance and using the beloved characters of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and pals to do so, announced in October that they’d be dropping Snoopy and friends after almost thirty years, in exchange for a “clean, modern, aesthetic.”
Now, Iconix, the brand management firm that owns the licensing rights to the Peanuts gang is putting your childhood memories up for sale. I’d say something glib about how this news is the nail in the coffin of your childhood, America, and something something wholesome, but really, this news feels depressing and bittersweet.
Iconix Brand Group is a giant, debt-ridden company that is looking to offload your childhood to….someone. Snoopy and Charlie Brown make about $30 million a year for Iconix, but since they got dropped by MetLife, they’re clearly nothing more than dead weight. What I know about MetLife as an insurance company would fit on the head of a pin, but I fondly remember the commercials from my childhood, probably because they were cartoons and also because I watched a fair amount of television.
Insurance commercials are interesting because advertising for something that everyone should arguably have but only really needs in time of emergency is difficult. It’s a concept. Unlike designing a spot around a crispy fried chicken chalupa, hawking the idea of security for events that haven’t happened but might some day is a big ask.
Farmer’s Insurance uses J.K. Simmons and a host of events that have yet to happen to make consumers giggle and then scare them into buying insurance for everything they own. The Geico lizard makes me irrationally angry, but hey, at least I know what Geico is, should I need it! Traveller’s Insurance used a very adorable dog, a bone and Ray LaMontagne to make me cry in spite of myself.
Here’s a MetLife insurance commercial from 2015.
MetLife explained that the decision to drop Snoopy was because insurance companies are no longer viewed as “cold and distant” — the very thing that a cartoon beagle and his round-headed friends were meant to dispel. Real life is bad enough as it is. Bring Snoopy back, please.
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