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University alum finds ‘nutty’ career

The+Planters+Peanutters%2C+advertising+specialists+who+work+for+the+company%2C+travel+the+nation+visiting+various+cities+in+this+peanut-shaped+truck%2C+often+joined+by+the+brand%27s+mascot%2C+Mr.+Peanut.+University+alumnus+Bradley+Smith+travels+with+Mr.+Peanut+across+the+country+to+advertise+the+company.
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University alum finds ‘nutty’ career

The Planters Peanutters, advertising specialists who work for the company, travel the nation visiting various cities in this peanut-shaped truck, often joined by the brand's mascot, Mr. Peanut. University alumnus Bradley Smith travels with Mr. Peanut across the country to advertise the company.

The Planters Peanutters, advertising specialists who work for the company, travel the nation visiting various cities in this peanut-shaped truck, often joined by the brand's mascot, Mr. Peanut. University alumnus Bradley Smith travels with Mr. Peanut across the country to advertise the company.

The Planters Peanutters, advertising specialists who work for the company, travel the nation visiting various cities in this peanut-shaped truck, often joined by the brand's mascot, Mr. Peanut. University alumnus Bradley Smith travels with Mr. Peanut across the country to advertise the company.

The Planters Peanutters, advertising specialists who work for the company, travel the nation visiting various cities in this peanut-shaped truck, often joined by the brand's mascot, Mr. Peanut. University alumnus Bradley Smith travels with Mr. Peanut across the country to advertise the company.

By Ciera Johnson, Staff Writer

Millennials are somewhat notorious for pursuing non-traditional careers. Bradley Smith, a University alumnus, is no exception. Smith drives the Planters Peanut NUTmobile across the country with Mr. Peanut.

Smith’s offbeat career path began as an advertising student at the University.

“I actually saw the NUTmobile when I was on campus,” Smith said in an email. “In my ADV 150 class, the Peanutters came to give a presentation and I was able to connect with them after about the job. After that presentation, I loved the idea of traveling for a full year with the NUTmobile and Mr. Peanut.”

Smith’s collegiate experiences outside of the classroom helped prepare him for the job.

“I actually was a tour guide on campus and used a lot of what I learned about answering questions and making engaging conversations on that job in my current job as a Peanutter,” Smith said.

In addition to leveraging his interpersonal skills, his college experience prepared him for life on the road. “I used to have such a crazy schedule in college,” he said. “I would wake up, go to class, go to work or a student organization and come home to do homework. With this job, I could be driving to Atlanta, outside a grocery store taking pictures for people or throwing axes with Mr. Peanut, I never know where the next adventure will take me and I’ve gotten used to not always knowing my scheduling and just living in the moment.” 

For many college graduates, their post-university lives aren’t exactly what they imagined. Few people have heard of the Peanutters, the job title for the advertising specialists like Smith and his colleagues. 

Molly O’ Brien, another Planters Peanutter, studied advertising at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She, like Smith, is drawn to the spontaneity and overall adventure of the job. 

“As a Peanutter,” O’Brien said in an email, “we are essentially a traveling public relations firm and get to dip our toes into plenty of realms within that. The adventure and travel aspect on top of this sold it as the total package.”  

Margaret Byrne, another Peanutter, specifically enjoys the day-to-day variety of the job. 

“One day we could be pitching all the local media for a city, or another we could be collecting social media content,” Byrne said in an email. “It really depends. Generally, though, we drive into a new city on a Monday, stay about a week, spend our first two days off exploring the city, then have events Thursday (through) Sunday.” 

Smith, O’Brien and Byrne are based out of California, but as Peanutters, they travel wherever they are needed.

Many recent graduates begin their professional lives in entry-level positions, possibly dealing with micromanagement, limited mobility and less independence than they had in their college days.

“I was incredibly intrigued by how much autonomy I would have as a recent graduate,” Byrne said. “We are essentially running our own public relations firm on wheels and are representing a billion-dollar brand. All the travel included was just a bonus.” 

In addition to the job freedom and travel perks, the Peanutters take pleasure in the joy they can bring to others with the presence of the truck and Mr. Peanut across the country. 

“What made me decide to enter this field and what excited me most is the amount of happiness I saw you can provide to others,” Byrne said. “I, myself, found out about this job after getting picked up from class on campus in one of the mobiles and had an opportunity to witness firsthand how much joy you are able to spread. I have never experienced such childlike excitement from people, no matter what their age was.” 

Smith’s career path thus far, while nontraditional, has been fulfilling. From the diverse groups of people he’s met to the new places he’s been able to see, Smith is happy with the adventure and variety the Peanutter job provides.

“I have always loved talking and interacting with people and being able to do that with the NUTmobile is a SHELL of a time,” he said.

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