Oscar week in Los Angeles is usually dominated by glitzy brands that get to drop those coveted luxury items into those swanky swag bags. No word on whether Planter snack mixes will be included with Gucci clasps or Prada accessories, but the Omega-3-rich division of Kraft Foods has nonetheless been busy in La-La-Land.
Led by Mr. Peanut, the most impressive celebrity to come from the ground since Mr. Potato Head, Planters added to the Pre-Oscar week fun with its announcement of two sustainability initiatives: an investment in developing green space across the country and a funky bio-diesel fueled car that would have made Rudolf Diesel proud.
In front of dozens of students from nearby Lawndale’s Environmental Charter High School (ECHS), Planters co-hosted a shindig near the iconic corner of Hollywood and Vine with Global Green USA and the Chevy Volt. With the Capitol Record building towering in the background, Global Green announced the launch of its City Carbon Index, a portal that shows a city’s current greenhouse gas emission levels–currently Los Angeles is the guinea pig, scoring less than what ECSH’s students boast on their report cards with a current grade of C-. Planters then announced a couple initiatives that showcase how the snack manufacturer will do its part to address issues over climate change.
Working with landscape architect Ken Smith, Planters will build urban parks, or Planters Groves, in four American cities this year with more in the pipeline for 2012 and beyond. In a partnership with The Corps Network, Planters will oversee the transformation of blighted urban spots into green spaces. Materials like recycled window sashes, recycled concrete, grey water from a neighboring house, and native trees and plants will blanket the New Orleans space. Across the country, these Planters Spaces will offer shade, gardens, and a respite in the town’s Central City neighborhood. Full disclosure: each park will have a bench where a likeness of Mr. Peanut will be seated.
Visiting today’s event in Hollywood, and traipsing between Planters Groves and community events will be the “Nutmobile,” (view the details in the graphic above) the greatest vehicle to hit the streets since Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine, with the caveat that the Nutmobile actually exists. Channeling the original diesel engine, which ran on peanut oil, the Nutmobile runs on biodiesel, and features solar panels and wind turbines while boasting an interior made from recycled materials and lit by LED lights.
Yes, yesterday afternoon was a promotional event, and some folks who live in hip too-cool-for-school neighborhoods may sneer at a corporation that builds open spaces with their share of product placement. But Mr. Peanut is no Ronald McDonald, and at a time when municipalities are financially strapped, someone needs to build these green spaces that are still needed in our cities. Plus if Planters’ (or Kraft’s) trucks start running on biodiesel, we will have even a better story.