Planters is sponsoring creation of peanut-shaped community parks called "Planters Groves" in four U.S. cities, and launching a "Naturally Remarkable" campaign that encompasses this and other sustainability initiatives ... with a dash of fun.
The Kraft Foods brand will mark the opening of the parks in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and New York City with appearances by a new eco-friendly Planters Nutmobile. The truck is biodiesel; generates energy for its tour-stop needs through solar panels, a wind turbine and a biodiesel generator; uses LED interior lighting; and is constructed of eco-conscious materials (reclaimed wood floors, for example).
The Nutmobile will also visit 12 other U.S. cities, and at all stops will encourage young people to contribute to their communities by volunteering for The Corps Network. Young members of that network mobilize volunteers in their regions to engage in needed, community-specific volunteer work ranging from preserving natural habitats and maintaining public lands to renovating deteriorating housing and supporting local education programs. The network's regional groups will build and maintain the Planters Groves.
The groves are being designed by landscape architect Ken Smith. Each park design will be city-specific, and will use locally reclaimed materials and native trees, plus plants from the legume family (the peanut's family). In each park, one bench will feature a seated Mr. Peanut figure.
As part of the Nutmobile's "Naturally Remarkable" tour, Planters also will partner with the NCAA's "68 Courts in 68 Days" initiative, conducted during the 2011 NCAA Men's Final Four, to revitalize a basketball court in Houston, Tex. Planters will inaugurate the revitalized court during NCAA's Community Initiative Day on March 31.
The campaign kicked off today (Feb. 23) in Los Angeles, as Planters unveiled its new Nutmobile and its groves plan during a sustainability showcase hosted by the environmental organization Global Green.
Obviously, the campaign is meant to generate goodwill for the brand by demonstrating its commitment to helping communities and the environment (as well as underline the natural qualities of Planters snack products).
But the "Naturally Remarkable" theme speaks to a larger revitalization -- or perhaps more accurately "return-to-roots" -- mission for the 100-year-old Planters brand, according to the brand's Senior Director of Marketing, Jason Levine.
The concept, Levine tells Marketing Daily, is to honor the origins of the brand's name -- the U.S. peanut planters and the other planters who now produce its nuts and other snack ingredients -- while at the same time reflecting the fun/good times that have always been associated with Planters snacks.
On one hand, Planters is emphasizing its "brand citizenship" re sustainability -- not only through the groves effort and eco-conscious Nutmobile, but by educating consumers about its investments in sustainable facilities (one has now reached zero landfill status and the other should do so this year, and both are energy- and water-efficient); its reduction of packaging materials; and its/Kraft's membership in the African Cashew Alliance, an initiative to improve production sustainability practices and increase cashew farmers' income.
On the other hand, Planters' makeover of the Mr. Peanut brand icon -- who now speaks, in addition to having an updated, more "peanut-like" look and being placed in a peanut-sized creative world -- is designed to reinforce the brand's role in enhancing social occasions.
"'Naturally Remarkable' captures the sustainability message, but also Planters' association with good times," says Levine. "Mr. Peanut is the perfect spokesperson for this combined message."
"During this tour, wherever we go and whatever we do, Planters' intent is to leave these communities more 'naturally remarkable' than when we found them and to plant something forward for future generations to enjoy," he adds.
Planters built buzz for its first talking Mr. Peanut TV spot, broadcast during the Super Bowl pre-game programming, by previewing the spot (which also features new character "Alejandro the Almond") on YouTube. Planters also offered 25,000 free flavored almonds coupons through a Facebook promotion on Bowl day.