Manly superlatives

Posted by Kirk Phillips on his BrandSTOKE site on April 26th,”Is Mr. Peanut man enough?”:

Let’s say you want to sell more nuts to men.

Let’s say you obtained a rare Men’s Health endorsement.

Let’s say you are Planters.

What do you do with your fop of a spokes-character? You know, that cane-twirling, white-gloved, top-hatted dandy?

What Planters did was introduce him to a rough crowd (a pistachio and an almond) to toughen up his image. The three comprise Planters NUT-rition Men’s Health Recommended Mix, “the  manliest mix we’ve ever assembled.”

The tv ad can be viewed here. A sample:

(Hat tip to Victor Steinbok.)

The BrandSTOKE piece goes on:

“Men are grocery shopping more, and they want a healthy snack that they can feel confident putting in their cart,” said Scott Marcus, senior brand manager for Planters. “Our research shows that what men love about nuts is they see them as both healthy and manly. So, our nutritionists and developers teamed up with Men’s Health magazine, a trusted and respected authority on nutrition and manliness, to create what we think is an ideal, nutritious snack.”

Planters’ research indicates men:
are choosing healthier snacks (53%).
rate nuts as the second most “manly” snack after beef jerky.
agree the peanut is the “manliest” nut (26%).
are choosing to eat nuts because they are healthy (64%).

How does the ad project manliness? Through aggressive action (as depicted above) and piled-up superlatives:

They’re the best of the best, of the boldest, of the bravest, of the hard-corest, of the tenderest, of the no-holds-barredest, like a bossest … It’s the manliest mix we’ve ever assembled.

Emma Gray on HuffPo (in “Mr. Peanut Gets A ‘Manly’ Makeover For New Planters Ad Campaign”)  picks up on the manliness theme, including the manly superlatives:

Mr. Peanut has gotten a makeover — a MANLY makeover. In an ad that seems at least in part an excuse for Planters to make a whole lot of “nuts” jokes (way to keep it classy, guys), the commercial joins other recent spots designed to make fun of the way advertising has represented masculinity in the past.

The tagline of this new ad campaign, which, according to Ad Week, Planters launched in conjunction with magazine Men’s Health, says it all: “It’s the manliest mix we’ve ever assembled.” Mr. Peanut was once a gentleman bachelor — when Robert Downey Jr. voiced the character in 2010, his lines included statements like, “At Planters, we know how to throw a remarkable holiday party. Just serve classy snacks and be a gracious host.” (True, Mr. Peanut hit a partygoer with his cane, but the party continued and nuts were served all around.)

In contrast, the new Mr. Peanut would never be caught dead hosting holiday parties — he prefers to blow up planets with lasers, drive vehicles out of building windows and seducing ladies.

So what does it take to be the manliest nuts (words I never thought I’d type) around? A whole lot of absurd superlatives — the “hardcorest,” “no-holds-barredest,” “like a bossest.” Thus the commercial good-heartedly mocks the “manly” action sequences and advertising campaigns we’ve come to expect from advertisers marketing products to men.

There’s a fine line between mocking the presentation of masculinity in popular culture and participating in this presentation.

One Response to “Manly superlatives”

  1. W Says:

    For decades in Australia, there has been advertising encouraging men to “Nibble Nobby’s Nuts”, and more recently, to “Nibble Nobby’s Beef Jerky”.

    An example: 1990 Nibble Nobby’s Nuts

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