The dropping of the MetLife Peanuts licenses has produced some rather ignorant coverage, like:
MetLife has dropped the 1950s cartoon character, a mascot that likely doesn’t resonate with the youngest generations.
Source: The Christian Science Monitor article See you, Snoopy: why insurance co. is saying goodbye to cartoons
To make that point, the Monitor:
- Buried well into the article the point that MetLife was spinning off its consumer life insurance business, which is a big portion of what the Peanuts characters were used to promote, onto a separate brand. Serving a smaller business naturally makes it harder to justify the huge bucks MetLife was putting out for the license.
- Leads with an expert supporting their claims, buries the expert saying “People think Snoopy is totally cool, and it’s a pretty broad range of people.”
- Tied the supposed lack of interest in Peanuts among younger folks to the death of Saturday morning TV, as though that was even a significant portion of what has driven the popularity of Peanuts. (Yes, there was a Peanuts Saturday AM show… for all of 18 episodes in the 1980s.)
- Failed to mention that Peanuts does, right now, have a new TV series, which appears successful (if in the relative terms of success in the 500 channel world.)
- Never mentions that there was a Peanuts movie just last year… which did more domestic box office than the overlapping release of a Pixar movie (The Good Dinosaur), the latest installment of Ice Age, or The Angry Birds Movie, to point to some more modern things that kids would be familiar with.
- Talks about how the characters used to be visible appearing in ads… as though they’ve not appeared in ads besides MetLife recently.
- Uses as its proof that one 10 year old as asked if they understood a laundry soap commercial that references Peanuts. (Doesn’t even give her answer!) And then the expert uses that to simply make uninformed musings about “millenials”, which would not include that 10 year old (who would be post-millenial.)
- Ends with a claim that “the Charlie Brown cartoons are available on Netflix”. Netflix is not streaming any Peanuts product in the US at this point.
MetLife is shrinking their business. It makes sense they would want to shed an expensive license that was used to support that larger business. Assumptions beyond that are just blather.
Note added Oct 22: Upon my contacting the Monitor with my concerns, they have updated the story with some adjustments.