(WBRE/WYOU) — The Mr. Peanut pre-Super Bowl ad has gone viral and many are mourning the marketing icon’s death, including many who remember that Planters Peanuts originated in Wilkes-Barre.
But one local history buff is hoping to use the renewed publicity to bring the mascot back to life back to where it all began at the turn of the 20th century.
“I believe Mr. Peanut at 104, it was probably time that he died,” local businessman Thom Greco said.
Local businessman Thom Greco is a strong believer in preserving history and the marketing folks at Planters Peanuts just gave him a golden opportunity.
In the new Mr. Peanut commercial, the beloved mascot meets his demise. Parent company Kraft Heinz has purchased ad time during the Super Bowl to hold a funeral for its century-old mascot. But one glance at Greco’s collection of memorabilia of Planters Peanuts proves this “nut” isn’t going anywhere.
“But I don’t think it will ever go away. It will always be the face of Planters Peanuts and it’s a lot of fun,” Greco said.
Greco has secured the rights to use the iconic mascot for local marketing. Eventually he wants to open a visitors center where he can display his memorabilia including a clock, watches, and many old posters and signs.
He also has one of the original bronze statues from the original corp. headquarters on South Main Street. The offices were abandoned in the ’60s and much of the building was torn down in 2006.
“So it’s a lot of memorabilia we have and with the new agreement with Planters Peanuts and the ability to co-brand the city and use the logo, we’re going to try to raise funds and bring the history back to Wilkes-Barre,” Greco said.
Greco believes the story of Planters in Luzerne County is important because is’s synonymous with the work ethic and history of Wilkes-Barre. Two Italian immigrants with a dream in 1906 turning a simple idea into a worldwide phenomenon.
Greco says he’s salvaged much of a huge brick mural of the Mr. Peanut image that was torn down in 2006 and plans to renovate it back to its original stature.