One of the most iconic superhero characters in the world is Superman. His first comic book appearance was in 1938. Since then he has appeared in every form of media from radio, to movies, to video games.
Over the years, many celebrities have carried the baton to play the role of Superman. It has become a huge deal for stars to play the role.
His popularity was so massive that his name, image and even logo became a huge deal. This demand led its creators to come up with numerous merchandising tie ins and products that fans like to collect. Even a whole theme park was planned revolving around the Man Of Steel.
But there is another product that came to market that gathered its own success. It is the last thing you would expect to see a Superman logo on, but for years there is was, in thousands of homes.
The History of Superman Peanut Butter
So Who Made Superman Peanut Butter?
In 1981, the Sunnyland Refining Co. introduced Superman peanut butter when they began putting the Superman image on jars of their crunchy and creamy peanut butter.
The Sunnyland Refining Co. peanut butter factory was three and a half-year-old at the time. According to reports, the private-label peanut butter business was cutthroat and the company used various price cutting measures.
The company decided to take the licensing route instead of building a name for themselves. The process of starting from scratch to create a brand would be long, and expensive.
DC Comics, which is now a subsidiary of Warner Communications, had strict policies. The company wanted to license the Superman name only to nutritious foods. When Sunnyland Refining Co. approached DC Comics, their peanut butter was one such product that supported the requirements.
Getting Superman Peanut Butter To Market
After finalizing the deal, Kaiser Kuhn Bennett & Sharp advertised the product in the Southeast. It appeared in print advertising and on television as well. Competing against billion dollar brands like Skippy from CPC, Peter Pan from Esmark, and Jif from Procter & Gamble, was hard. The high-end brands used big city, heavyweight shops which had more consumer sales.
The manufacturers of the Superman Peanut Butter were able to secure the right exposure for their product. The product became available in 65 percent of the country. They estimated that when it reached national distribution, the total account should be somewhere around $5 million.
Superman Peanut Butter received valuable supermarket shelf space with ease. The manufacturers of the product were surprised because marketing packaged goods was one of the most challenging tasks.
The Success Of Superman Peanut Butter
It became a massive seller once it hit the shelves. People were buying the product because of the Superman logo, regardless of how it tasted. According to many reviews, most people found it tasted the same as their regular peanut butter.
Its Strength is its Great TasteSuperman
The product saw strong growth through most of the 80s
Superman was a huge superhero success. For most kids merely seeing the coveted “S” on the product was enough to convince them to coax their parents to buy the PB.
There are even incidences where people end up saving the empty bottle because it had Superman on it. Goes to show the popularity and influence of Superman.
Why Did They Stop Selling Superman Peanut Butter?
The reason they stopped selling Superman peanut butter is unknown. Sunnyland Refining Company was bought up by Venture Foods in 1999, but production of the peanut butter stopped well before that.
I really couldn’t find any information about the discontinuation of the product. All marketing materials are from the early to mid 80s, and it is sad to think that perhaps this product was not on the shelves for as long as we remember.
So Why Did Superman Have His Own Peanut Butter?
Marketing. Superman had his own peanut butter because his image alone was enough to make sure jars flew off the shelf. Using Superman to market a healthy snack like peanut butter to children was a win-win
Regardless of the lukewarm reviews it received, it was good enough for me. And I doubt any of us would say no to a fresh jar right about now.