Dan Corry, ’19 MEDIA, gets a lot of funny looks doing his job. And he doesn’t give a flying filbert.
In June, Corry began a year-long stint driving one of three, 26-foot-long motorized legumes owned and operated by Planters, the century-old, peanut-peddling snack-food enterprise. Corry and two partners appear at festivals, concerts, parades and other community gatherings across the U.S., often with the Planters mascot, Mr. Peanut, in tow.
“There’s no better time to do this,” the 22-year-old Corry says of the itinerant gig.
Corry initially balked at the job’s too-good-to-be-true nature when he learned about it during his senior-year, advertising capstone course. Nevertheless, he decided to apply for the grassroots marketing position as graduation loomed. Out of 1,500-plus applicants, Corry was one of nine “Peanutters” selected for the nutty job.
This past June, the St. Charles, Ill., native reported to Wisconsin for two weeks of “Peanut Prep,” an intensive training program covering public relations, marketing and legal issues—not to mention practical skills such as making tight right turns in an oversized nut.
Assigned to the central region, Corry first traveled to Chicago for an NBA draft party, followed by a beer-tasting event in the city’s Ravenswood neighborhood and a music festival in the western suburbs.
Thereafter, Corry distributed trial-size snack packs and inspired smiles in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Traverse City, Mich., Harrisburg, Pa., and New York City, where he and his crew celebrated the marketplace resurrection of Planters Cheez Balls.
Along with the curious looks, cheerful hollers and requests for “shell”-fies, Corry has enjoyed the once-in-a-lifetime experience. A month into his Planters post, for instance, he stood beside Mr. Peanut inside pit row at a NASCAR race in Sparta, Ky.
The work has been educational as well as energizing, as Corry applies his advertising skills to brand-integration efforts, posts content to the NUTmobile’s social media pages and finds ways to be a nimble collaborator even in stressful environments.
“Those will be important skills well after this job is over,” Corry says.
When his one-year adventure with Planters concludes next June, he hopes to land a copywriting job in Chicago, though the NUTmobile experience has opened his eyes to places and opportunities across the U.S.
“And for the rest of my life,” he adds, “I’ll never again need to know how to drive a 26-foot-long peanut.”