Snoopy and MetLife are splitsville
Steve’s breakdown: Argonaut won the business back in September but we have not seen any work yet. Makes you wonder now that they are ending their relationship with the “Peanuts” gang.
NEW YORK, NY: Snoopy is creeping toward the endangered species list.
MetLife, the giant US insurer that uses the lovable “Peanuts” pooch as its mascot, is thinking about phasing out America’s most famous beagle from its marketing efforts, The Post has learned.
The slow fade could start as early as this week, sources said.
Chief marketing officer Esther Lee is expected to meet with her team on Wednesday and the continued use of Snoopy is on the agenda, sources said.
MetLife’s licensing deal with United Media, which owns the rights to Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” gang, runs through 2020, sources said.
Lee, who joined MetLife last year from AT&T, is leaning against continuing the roughly $12 million annual licensing agreement, sources said.
“MetLife is in the middle of a multiyear contract with the ‘Peanuts’ characters,” Kim Friedman, a company spokeswoman, told The Post. “As always, we will evaluate how, when and where to use all of our brand assets, including ‘Peanuts.’”
While no official decision has been made, MetLife has already started showing signs that it plans on cutting Snoopy loose.
During the past few weeks, MetLife has started leaving the “Peanuts” characters off marketing materials sent to clients, one source said. Also, at its Midtown offices, a “Peanuts” store near the 16th-floor cafeteria was recently closed.
In addition, a “Peanuts” branding center was recently “dismantled,” a source said.
The reasons behind the change have more to do with rebranding than money, one source said. The cost to license the characters is a drop in the bucket compared to the $5.3 billion the company earned in 2015.
There are no current plans to replace the characters with other cartoons, one source said.
MetLife has been licensing Charlie Brown’s trusted beagle since 1985.
MetLife shares, which added 35 cents, to $42.52, on Monday, are off 12 percent year to date.