Instead of going nuts and stressing over classes, students were able to have a more enjoyable crunch time by snacking on some deluxe mixed nuts when the Planters NUTmobile visited the University of New Mexico.
The massive peanut-shaped bus rolled onto Smith Plaza at 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22. Mr. Peanut took photos with students while two brand ambassadors handed out Planters stickers and bags of nuts.
The NUTmobile is 11 and a half feet tall, 26 feet long, and eight and a half feet wide. Weighing 13,000 pounds, it is equivalent to the weight of 3 million peanuts, according to Planters.
There are three Planters peanut buses touring different cities and schools across the country. The drivers are students signed on to the program for a full year after they graduate from college.
Brand Ambassador Maggie Chandler began driving the MRPNUT1 NUTmobile in June 2019 after she graduated in Journalism and Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in April.
"It really is a blast," Chandler said. "You get to see so much of the county that you otherwise would not have seen. I'm from Wisconsin originally so, I've been to about 12 or 13 different states now."
Chandler says there are 21 brand ambassadors signed on to the year-long program between the three NUTmobile buses. Otherwise known as Planters Peanutters, the brand ambassadors are always moving from location to location and people are often waving when the bus passes them on the road.
Chandler said one of her favorite memories on the program was of a little boy who was ecstatic to see Mr. Peanut at the Warren County fair in Indianola, Iowa.
"He kept giving Mr. Peanut hugs and just didn't want to leave him," she said. "The boy even asked his parents if Mr. Peanut could go get ice cream with them and actually grabbed his hand to lead him there. It was precious."
They drive to a new location each week. Travel can sometimes be as far as from Salt Lake City to Sacramento, California, which Chandler said is the longest drive they have had this year.
"We learn just a couple of weeks in advance where we're going to be going," Chandler said. "We’re just constantly on the fly you know, things change at the drop of a hat."
One week prior to visiting UNM, Chandler said the MRPNUT1 bus came out of maintenance with 158,505 miles. She says there is a lot she has learned out on the road both personally and professionally — whether it's listening to the opinions of her business partners or the stories of fans who meet them at the bus every day.
"It’s a great first job," Chandler said. "It exposes you to so much more, other than just PR and marketing and advertising."
One thing Chandler said students need to become a brand ambassador for Planters is an interest in people and their stories, as well as a willingness to be flexible with helping a partner or accommodating to a change in the weather.
"I would really encourage all these college graduates to apply," Chandler said. "If you told me a year ago that I would be doing this, I wouldn't believe you. It’s a one of a kind adventure and you learn so much about yourself: marketing, advertising, event planning, just a lot of great things on the job experience."
When Chandler is done with the Planters program, she says she is interested in higher education communications or downtown event planning. Students who are close to graduating can apply for the year-long Planters program online at plantersnutmobile.com before applications are due on Jan. 31, 2020.
Daniel Ward is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wordsofward34