Planters Peanuts Commercial Insults Mexicans

cacahuete1resized.jpg


Have you seen this TV commercial for Planters Peanuts? The little peanut character on the back of the bike pedals like crazy until he keels over, while Mr. Peanut does nothing and cruises to an easy victory.

The character is dressed in a shirt that says cacahuete, French for "peanut"--if it had the grave accent over the first e. As it stands, it's one way of saying "peanut" in Spanish (the more common spelling is cacahuate. The implication? The hard-working Mexican peanut does all the work, while gabacho Mr. Peanut gets all the credit.

Have a look at the commercial:



It's not just me and Gustavo who see the insult; other Mexis are also pissed at the commercial.

How did this commercial clear the approval process at Planters' corporate parent Kraft Foods and its ad agency?

Basil T. Maglaris, associate director of corporate affairs at Kraft Foods, responded to my questions by e-mail.

Mr. Peanut's sidekick, Benson, is riding a bicycle, and in a fun nod to major French cycling events, he is wearing a beret and a shirt that says, 'cacahuete'--which is the French word for 'peanut.'  After all, Benson is a peanut.

We regret that there has been some confusion with similarly spelled words in other languages. Our intent was to create a fun ad celebrating healthy activities--and we are always concerned when consumers express disappointment with our ads. . . . We never want to offend anyone with our marketing efforts, and we are clarifying the intent of the advertisement with those who have contacted us with questions or concerns. We treat all consumers with high esteem and respect, and we would never intentionally portray them in an offensive or demeaning manner.

 

We have no plans to change or withdraw the advertisement.

First: Whose bright idea was it to label the sidekick "cacahuete" and start this controversy? Isn't it obvious he's a peanut?  A shorter-statured, harder-working second fiddle to Mr. Peanut, who's too cool to wear a cacahuete jersey of his own?

If you take the corporate response at face value, the French word "cacahuète" is always spelled with the accent, while the Spanish cognate is not. If Planters were sincere about labelling the little guy French, he shouldn't be wearing a Spanish-language shirt.
 
Also, is Mr. Peanut cheating his way to victory in this "French cycling event"? Letting the sidekick do all the work while he does none? Using swim fins illegally? Why paint Mr. Peanut as a cheat, when doping at the Tour de France is an explosive real-world issue in professional cycling?

A "French cycling event" has spawned doping controversies every year since 1998, most notably in 2006, when American Tyler Hamilton was stopped from competing by a Spanish blood-doping investigation called Operación Puerto. The same year, American Floyd Landis won a too-good-to-be-true overall victory in the Tour de France, only to be stripped of the title for a positive test for testostorone. Years of denial, a public campaign to clear his name and a book sold to raise money for his legal battles all proved to be a lie when Landis admitted last year to doping and lying about it.

Late in 2010, Landis accused Lance Armstrong of doping when they rode as teammates on the U.S. Postal Service team. Every major media outlet in the world is waiting for the other shoe to drop in the FDA's ongoing doping investigation of the recently re-retired Armstrong. It's a big story. Right. Now.

How can Planters and its ad agency not be aware of these well-publicized cases of cheating at a "French cycling event" before producing this ad? Even now, when faced with the knowledge that this commercial snubs Mexican-Americans, why defend a poorly conceived ad with poorly conceived doubletalk about cycling?


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
40 comments
mkstein
mkstein

Go Mr. Peanut! We love you! And if this commercial

offends you, you have bigger issues to deal with than what nationality a peanut is! My god man, IT'S A PEANUT!!!!

tennockerslv
tennockerslv

It is written in French not spanish/mexican, and is exactly what you would see in France, and here in USA.  Facts are facts and they should be happy that Planters tells it as it is.

cassandra williams
cassandra williams

did you now that mr.peanut is an awsome peanut.... peoples if you like to be mr.peanut's friendright bace to me   

barky
barky

Diacritical marks are often omitted from upper case letters in French, your claim, "the French word "cacahuète" is always spelled with the accent" not withstanding.

Medusa97
Medusa97

This is really reaching to be offended. DOWN WITH PLANTERS!!!!!!

Vic Murillo
Vic Murillo

REALLY? methinks your skin is waaaay to thin, grow a pair.

Vic Murillo

Lee Rivas
Lee Rivas

I always thought that cacahuate came from the Nahuatl "cacahuatl." Guess I was wrong.

As for the your paranoid analysis of an innocuous cartoon, I've got more pressing world matters to be angry about. Get a life people.

Me lleva la chingada!

Mell
Mell

Your an idiot

michie
michie

P.S... He wasn't Mexican. Where's the poncho, hat and chanclas? Nope....he wasn't Mexican!!

miche
miche

worry about real issues...dont waste energy on this.

Mswood911
Mswood911

wow. people can be pathetic. get over it, not a big deal

Vdavidn
Vdavidn

d'arachide = peanut in french. Per google translater.

Andres
Andres

as i read this article seems like the French should be more offended about it then us, because of the "cheating" idea of all of it. Us Mexicans have nothing to do with it being the fact that cacahuate is similar to cacahuete. But there is no real connection to any Mexican or Hispanic. I think. But the cheating seems to be more of a controversy, which in this case would be the French to be offended.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

If that's a beret, they need to hire a graphics firm that isn't under the influence of the medicine advertised in the back of our magazine. "Cacahuète" is standard French for "peanut" (except in Québec, where they say "arachide") and the whole ad is just stupid, ineffective and a waste of Planters' shareholders' money.

Jandra
Jandra

As a mouse in an exercise wheel, that ad offends me because it implies that I am a bumbling four eyed goof. I AM NOT MR. MAGOO!

thecoloneljames
thecoloneljames

Citizens of Libya are being shot in the street by their government in their quest for freedom, and this is story you feel is so important you must put pen to paper.Time for you to take a good hard look in the mirror, and time for me to give up on the OC Weekly.

Anon
Anon

Wow this is a pretty ridiculous article. Not a troll, I have been an OCW reader for several years but this article is really scraping the bottom of the barrel....

Blackrufus
Blackrufus

Really? No -- REALLY? Are you guys that desperate for comments and UVs that you have to stoop to baiting headlines in a lame attempt to stir shit up? (Guess the jokes on me, since I'm writing this). How can this possibly be anti-Mexican? Maybe the peanut is a SPANISH peanut. You know, like Spain, the country?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Um, Benson isn't wearing a beret—it's a racing cap...

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

Well, it didn't say anywhere in the rulebook about not using fins, did it? Do you have a copy of the Tree-athalon rule book?. On that note, what's up with the mouse using that wheel? Cheater!!! I think it's a jab at Art Spiegelman and Jews. Oh, and the turtle was the one that started the race with the firing pistol. That's such bullshit. I think he was discriminated against because he'd beat the hare in the now famous, fabled race, so the animals that run the Tree-athalon decided not to let him compete in fear of the turtle dominating. The turtle represents...ohhhhh...lets say Jamaica, just because. Let's see, what other silly overreactions can I make from this :30 second commercial. Hmmmmmm...

Tran
Tran

All this rage seems just a tad misplaced. Maybe it's because I'm more familiar with French that I thought it was just a random peanut commercial with no racial undertones.

Also, "snubs Mexican-Americans"? What does that even mean?

Guest
Guest

and you think all Mexicans wear "the poncho, hat, and chanclas"? Well have I got news for you..

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Google Translate is really, really not your friend. "Arachide" is the word for "groundnut" and gets used in France to describe a category of plants. In Québec it means "peanut".

And the "d'" means "of".

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

C-ya! Also? This section of our paper is about food, not overdue uprisings.

Roman
Roman

Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq you name it.......Mexican Americans are there too. You should feel cheap to bring up world conflicts from the comfort of you wi-fi world while the men and women who fight for your freedom and theirs will return to more of the same. Semper Fi

Tran
Tran

Not sure where that would go on the food blog section... Did you get lost?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Not really. Whether you're upset by it or not, others are—and that's news.

Parley Baer
Parley Baer

I'm not going to criticize Arellano. We all know his lack of creativity and professional judgment. Nothing new under that unfortunate son.

I say shame on Professor Salt and Das Ubergeek, and it's sad.

thecoloneljames
thecoloneljames

I have a brother and a cousin in the Marines in Afganistan fighting as I type. I find it repulsive someone who represents a family member as the "Frito Bandito" in one of his his books, and this newspaper thinks a shitty cartoon comercial about a peanut on a bicycle is the bigger threat to Human Rights than what is going on in the rest of the world.

Anon
Anon

Well by that rationale, Lindsey Lohan fans are pretty upset with the way they perceive the courts are treating her. Will we be seeing articles on this?

Not a direct attack, I usually have a lot of respect for most of the journos over there at OCW, I just think you guys can do better than this.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Just getting to this? Talk about having nothing to do...

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

The "colonel" is as much one as I am James Cameron. Stick to fighting on Call of Duty, son!

Roman
Roman

Apples and Oranges "Colonel". The fact that this is being discussed doesn't elevate it to "a bigger threat to" anything. It's just a topic. One that merits it's own time and attention. I guess since it's James instead of Jaime there's no point. By the same token, maybe if it was he, instead of his family who served, he would see things differently. Frankly, I find it a bit narcissistic that "the" colonel would even bring world conflict into the picture. Hoorah for my Brothers!! Semper Fi!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

We appreciate your feedback, but I'm the editor 'round here—and this article was a goodie.

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

There's 6 people on the Facebook link that are pissed. 2 more on this post. That's 8 people! Almost enough to have a baseball team! Sounds like news to me.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...