- Planters attempted to create a viral Super Bowl moment by bringing Mr. Peanut back as “Baby Nut.”
- Though evocative of Baby Yoda, the move was clearly planned as a branding effort.
- Meme pages were created before Baby Nut’s rollout.
- The move could violate Twitter’s rules against spam.
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Planters, the nut brand, had engineered the perfect viral moment for the 2020 Super Bowl – killing its mascot, Mr. Peanut, and bringing him back as Baby Nut, a smaller, cuter version of the character that immediately brings Baby Yoda to mind.
But unlike Baby Yoda’s virality – which appeared to be a grassroots internet movement driven purely by the cuteness of the character in Disney’s “The Mandalorian” – Baby Nut’s debut came with an infrastructure designed to produce internet stardom, showing the lengths to which companies will go to ensure they get a viral moment.
Planters appears to have made multiple meme pages for Baby Nut before its rollout
A typical sign of major viral moments in the past few years has been the appearance of meme pages devoted to sharing images and videos joking about the topic at hand. With Baby Yoda, hundreds if not thousands of meme pages were made by fans or people interested in capitalizing on interest in Baby Yoda memes.
Now, with Baby Nut, it appears we’re seeing corporations catch on to the trend, manufacturing their own meme pages before the rollout of the character.
After the debut of Baby Nut during the Super Bowl, the verified @MrPeanut account retweeted memes from separate accounts about Baby Nut. For most viral moments this wouldn’t be surprising, but upon further inspection, the accounts that were retweeted were created in January, before the public knew about Baby Nut – suggesting that they were part of the ad campaign.
One account that was shared, Baby Nut Expressions (@BabyNutLOL), had 46 followers at the time of this writing and almost immediately began sharing memes about Baby Nut after the commercial.
Another account, @BabyNutReal, had 37 followers at the time of this writing and was created in September – and similarly began sharing Baby Nut memes shortly after the commercial aired.
⠀ (•ㅅ•) Mr. Peanut
＿ノ ヽ ノ＼ __
/ `/ ⌒Ｙ⌒ Ｙ ヽ
( (三ヽ人 / |
| ﾉ⌒＼ ￣￣ヽ ノ
｜( 王 ﾉ〈 (__/)
/ﾐ`ー―彡 (•ㅅ•) Baby Nut
— Baby Nut (@BabyNutReal) February 3, 2020
@BabyNutBaby, @BabyNutMemes, and @BabyNutFanpage were also created in January, before the rollout of Baby Nut, and shared similar memes. @BabyNutMemes liked a tweet from @MrPeanut as early as January 14.
Kraft Heinz, the parent company of Planters, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The accounts could violate Twitter’s rules against spam
While Twitter allows for easy account creation, an organized effort to attempt to amplify homebrewed Baby Nut memes could violate the company’s policies on spam and platform manipulation, which says, “You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter.”
Specifically, Twitter calls out “coordinated activity, that attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts, automation and/or scripting,” and “operating multiple accounts with overlapping use cases, such as identical or similar personas or substantially similar content.” Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While such activity isn’t unheard of around businesses and brands, the use of meme pages specifically to amplify a specific viral moment such as Baby Nut signals a new corporate understanding of the internet ecosystem.
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