Retro Commercials: Snoopy for MetLife

I don’t know about you, but commercials can often take me back to my formative years as quickly as any song or movie can. That is why we will continue this semi-regular feature on ’80s commercials that I consider particularly memorable, noteworthy, or forgotten. Television commercials were much more influential back when we were forced to watch them without the luxury to fast-forward through and/or stream shows with limited or no interruptions. This issue will cover some of the MetLife spots featuring Snoopy and the Peanuts characters from the ’80s (plus one special commercial from 2012).

Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, better known as MetLife, was founded in 1868. Back in 1985, MetLife signed a licensing deal for Snoopy and all the Peanuts characters to promote their brand. The characters would appear in promotional materials (including the MetLife blimp), sales literature, premium items, and, most important for this particular feature, commercials. As the MetLife CMO put it, using these beloved characters was intended “to make our company more friendly and approachable during a time when insurance companies were seen as cold and distant.”

The Peanuts comic strip began in 1950 and grew to be among the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips. The holiday television specials A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, from 1965 and 1966 respectively, had become annual viewing traditions in most households even 20 years later. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang were great choices to become brand ambassadors and provided endless options for promotional material including commercials. Advertising agency Young & Rubicam was tasked with creating the initial marketing campaign using the Peanuts characters as well as their slogan, “Get Met. It Pays”.

Here is one of the very first spots from 1985 featuring Charlie Brown playing baseball…

Here is another from 1985 featuring Lucy and Snoopy…

Here is one more from 1985 where Snoopy is not decorating for the holidays, but instead for another reason…

Here is one from the first Christmas season airing in December of 1985 wishing “Season’s Greetings”…

Here’s a great one from 1986 featuring Lucy holding the football so Charlie Brown can kick it…

Here’s another winter spot from 1986 featuring ice skating…

Here is one more from 1986 featuring Peppermint Patty & Marcie watching Snoopy train…

Here is another from 1986 featuring Linus and his trusty blanket…

Here is a two-parter from 1987 featuring Snoopy flying his dog house as he was known to do…

Here is a winter spot from 1987 featuring Marcie going down a ski hill…

Here is one from 1988 featuring Schroeder playing his piano for Lucy…

Here’s a special one from 1988 that only aired during Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade…

There were several more commercials from the ’80s that I was not able to include and many more from the following decades as they continued right on into the ’90s and beyond.

Even though it aired well after the ’80s, one of my favorite MetLife commercials first aired during the 2012 Super Bowl. It not only features the Peanuts characters but dozens and dozens of other iconic cartoon characters. The list includes He-Man, Fat Albert, Voltron, Mr. Magoo as well as many Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes favorites. It is so cool to see so many of these characters mingling together even if it is for just 30 seconds…

You have to admit that commercial is pretty awesome. In 2016, MetLife ended its 31-year relationship with Snoopy and the Peanuts characters. The company decided to embark on a branding overhaul after MetLife sold off its consumer life insurance business to concentrate entirely on corporate clients. Even though they don’t use Snoopy anymore, anytime I hear MetLife it always reminds me of that Peanuts dog and those commercials.

There you go, a trip down memory lane in the form of TV commercials. I have loved Snoopy and the Peanuts characters as far back as I can remember, so it was only natural that I would have fond memories of these MetLife commercials. And, yep, they started back in the ’80s.

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About OldSchool80s 29 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.