Snoopy Retires As Brand Ambassador For MetLife: Here’s Why Insurance Company Dropped ‘Peanuts’ Cartoon Character

Although The Peanuts Movie was a huge hit at the box office, MetLife Insurance has decided to retire the cartoon series’ lovable dog “Snoopy.” As the insurance behemoth restructures its business, MetLife is changing its image and going for a more corporate look and appeal.

Earlier this year, MetLife chose to do away with a majority of its U.S. life insurance business. Unfortunately, as a part of corporate restructuring, MetLife has chosen to sever ties with Snoopy, the lovable world-weary dog from the Peanuts cartoon series. Snoopy has been a loyal brand ambassador for MetLife Insurance for more than three decades, but with the company undergoing a significant transformation, it is apparent that Snoopy doesn’t have a place on the company’s billboards and in its advertisements anymore. Incidentally, the company is also retiring the blimps.

The 149-year-old company is letting go of Snoopy as it shifts away from personal and individualized life insurance. For 31 years, the insurance company featured the Peanuts gang in print, television and online ads. MetLife recently notified Iconix, the company that licenses the characters that it will no longer be relying on the characters from Peanuts to sell insurance. Snoopy is expected to be off from all of MetLife’s promotional media starting next year.

While official figures haven’t been disclosed, experts indicate MetLife has been shelling out anywhere between $10 and $15 million each year to officially license the Peanuts characters. Interestingly, after severing ties with Snoopy, the company is expected to save the entire money it spent on licensing fees because it has not approached anyone for any characters, cartoon or otherwise. Instead of relying on some popular characters, personalities or celebrities, MetLife Insurance has chosen to use its own brand and lettering.

MetLife won’t need Snoopy and other members of the Peanuts gang because it will not be reaching out to the general public from next year. The company has already begun spinning off bulk of its U.S. life-insurance business, and by the first half of 2017, MetLife is expected to completely step out of the personal insurance business.

Instead of selling insurance to individuals, MetLife will now focus primarily on corporates and large organizations. MetLife is expected to cater big corporate clients in the U.S. Its comprehensive coverage will include life, dental and other insurance that employers can extend to their workers. Moreover, MetLife will also offer annuities to pension plans. Additionally, the company has a large international life-insurance business, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Experts indicate MetLife is letting go of those businesses that are capital intensive, to grow in a market that has been hit with low interest rates. Speaking about the transition, MetLife Chief Executive Steven Kandarian said the following.

“We brought in Snoopy over 30 years ago to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant. Snoopy helped drive our business and served an important role at the time.

“We knew with all the transformation going on, we needed to rethink how we went to market and how we presented our brand.”

As part of the brand restructuring, the company’s new logo will feature the MetLife name in a slightly different typeface. Instead of the iconic blue color, MetLife will now be written in corporate-friendly black color. The name will be accompanied by a new blue and green “M” symbol. The company has also shed its old tag line “MetLife. I can do this.” The new promotions will feature, “MetLife: Navigating life together.”

Incidentally, the licensing company for Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and other Peanuts characters makes more than $100 million from them, reported CBS News. Experts are confident that losing MetLife will boost the company’s revenue to more than $370 million this year.

Peanuts was created as a comic strip in 1950 by the late Charles M. Schulz. The family of the cartoonist still controls a lot of licensing. The series is enjoying a massive resurgence thanks to the success of The Peanuts Movie at the box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the movie grossed more than $244 million worldwide. The movie has led to several additional licensing deals for Iconix.

[Featured Image by Yana Paskova/Getty Images]