Good Grief: MetLife Fires Snoopy As Its Spokesman After 31 Years
It's always confused me that MetLife would have Snoopy as the face of the company. Snoopy, after all, has never officially been on the logo -- his main function with the life insurance company was as the World War I flying ace, and was painted on the side of its blimp.
So is that a wise choice for a life insurance company, hiring a blimp pilot who is constantly being hunted by the Red Baron?
Oh, the humanity.
The nation's top life insurer has dropped the Peanuts beagle as its mascot after 31 years of service, said Chief Marketing Officer Esther Lee. Announced, heartlessly, on the day after the 50th anniversary TV airing of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Snoopy, ironically, made his first animated appearance as the WWI pilot in that special. to Bloomberg:
“We have a lot of affection for Snoopy,” Lee said in a phone interview Thursday. “He’s rated very high as a good friend and on approachability. Where he didn’t rate as high is things like, as a leader, keeps promises, is a good adviser.”
That's some bullshit right there. Focus groups are even less reliable than online snap political polls.
MetLife took on Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang in 1985, in a move to soften the edges of an industry that was seen at the time as being cold, buttoned-down and irredeemably corporate. Snoopy had already been around for 35 years by then, and became the face of the company, appearing on everything from TV commercials and coffee mugs to the iconic blimp that flew over sporting events. And other Peanuts characters appeared in advertising as well.
But MetLife is now leaving the U.S. retail market, concentrating more on business coverage and life insurance overseas. So they decided to streamline their image.
But Snoopy is by no means destitute. The Peanuts brand has more than 700 licensing agreements in about 100 countries, according to SEC filings. CNN Money:
If Snoopy feels spurned by MetLife, he can find comfort in relationships with Hallmark, Warner Bros. and Target. Those are just a few of the heavy hitters touted by Iconix Brand Group (ICON), which partnered with the family of the late Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz to buy the brand from two publishing houses for $175 million in 2010.
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