Planters is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its having introduced the dry-roasting peanut process -- and its first dry-roasted products -- by adding two new flavors to the line.
Its approach to the launches points up the brand’s shift to a greater focus on employing social media for marketing, as well as its increased emphasis on product innovation.
The two new varieties of Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts -- Roasted Onion & Garlic and Honey Barbeque -- are indicative of the
brand’s push to provide “a flavor for every palate,” says Ken Padgett, senior associate brand manager for Planters.
The brand last launched a new dry-roasted flavor, 5-Alarm Chili, in January 2011, joining the regular, honey roasted, lightly salted and unsalted varieties.
The newest products, which will be on store shelves across the country by mid-December, are initially being supported primarily through posts/promotions on the Mr. Peanut Facebook page, reports Padgett.
Those will include a coupon for the new products, positioned as an anniversary “thank-you” from the brand to its fans, he notes.
The Mr. Peanut Facebook page, which currently has nearly 500,000 “likes,” enables the brand to interact with fans through the engaging, comedic “voice” of the iconic character, Padgett says. (Mr. Peanut got an image makeover, and his first literal “voice” -- originated by Robert Downey Jr. -- starting with a late 2010 TV spot.)
Planters is still solidifying its 2013 marketing plan for the new dry-roasted products, but expects to incorporate elements such as in-store promotions and traditional media, while continuing the dialogue on Facebook.
Planters will also be communicating another milestone for its dry-roasted line: The unsalted and lightly salted varieties recently earned the American Heart Association’s “heart healthy” Heart Check Food Certification.
The Planters brand as a whole is more than 100 years old. Its dry-roasting process for preserving peanuts’ flavor and seasonings without oil -- which was exclusive to the brand when first introduced in 1962 -- has changed little since then, although the dry-roasting facility has become more efficient, according to Padgett.
Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts quickly became a "phenomenon" in the '60s, and the products today are found in one of every five American households, he adds.