The internet can only handle so many “baby” versions of well-known characters, and Planters appears to be pushing that limit with Baby Nut, a reinvention of its Mr. Peanut mascot that critics claim is a ripoff of Baby Yoda.
The nut-maker revealed a big-eyed, pint-sized version of its mascot in a hyped-up Super Bowl ad on Sunday, 11 days after it “killed” the original Mr. Peanut in a teaser ad.
In the original ad, the adult Mr. Peanut is shown hanging off a loose branch over a cliff along with his friends, actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. The monocle-wearing mascot decides to lighten the load on the straining branch, so he lets go and seemingly falls to his death.
The new Planters ad shows Snipes, Walsh and several others, including corporate mascots Mr. Clean and the Kool-Aid Man, standing around Mr. Peanut’s fresh grave for a funeral service. The Kool-Aid Man sheds a tear, and that tear falls on the grave, where it causes leaves to sprout from the soil. The leaves open up to produce Baby Nut — a cute version of Mr. Peanut wearing the same top hat and spats as his predecessor.
Baby Nut makes a few baby sounds, a few inexplicable dolphin clicks, then speaks in an adult voice.
“Just kidding. I’m back,” he says. “Where’s my monocle?”
The commercial ends with Walsh presenting Baby Nut to the other mourners.
Planters immediately put its cute-ified mascot on blast, tweeting photos, memes, videos and merchandise of Baby Nut. It also launched a “livestream” of Baby Nut dancing around.
However, social media users were quick to accuse Planters of copying Baby Yoda, the breakout character from Disney’s Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian.
“Baby Nut is such a marketing rip off,” tweeted user Logan Coffman. “They’re slapping it on everything ’cause people see a baby version of something and insta buy.”
The character also prompted some aggressive comments, with several users vowing to “grind” Baby Nut into peanut butter for Baby Yoda to eat.
“How dare you compare him to that little nut,” one Baby Yoda fan tweeted.
A smaller group of fans celebrated Baby Groot, the sentient tree creature from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Much like Baby Nut, Baby Groot was born from the remains of the adult Groot.
Others were 100 per cent on board with Baby Nut’s cute eyes and quirky dance moves.
Many users pointed out the potentially crude connotations of the name “Baby Nut,” while others simply flooded Planters’ Baby Nut livestream with sexual jokes.
(“Nut” is a vulgar slang term used to refer to the male orgasm.)
It’s unclear how much Planters shelled out to come up with the Baby Nut campaign, but one user suggested they should have taken more time with it.
“Some ad exec was hip enough to know that kids are down with Baby Yoda, but not enough to know what nut means,” user @PKGoodness tweeted.
The Baby Nut “livestream” lasted for four hours on Sunday night and has been watched more than 1.5 million times.
“Please release me from this marketing hell,” one user commented on the Periscope feed.
“The Kool-Aid Man’s Tear’s revived Mr. Peanut into Baby Nut,” wrote user @ljredeye. “I need a drink.”