In 1985, the insurance company Metropolitan Life, often shortened to either Met Life or MetLife, began featuring the characters from Peanuts in a series of commercials in an effort to appear more approachable during a time when insurance companies were thought to be "cold and distant."
Most of these ads featured Snoopy in the role of the "world-famous MetLife representative," helping the other characters with various insurance-related needs. The commercials played off several iconic Running Gags from the comic strip and its adaptations, such as Lucy pulling away the football, Snoopy opposing the Red Baron, or Linus' dependency on his Security Blanket. Later commercials had the characters discuss healthy living to promote MetLife's health education programs.
This campaign extended beyond the commercials to include the Peanuts characters in premium items, sales literature, and even the MetLife sports blimps "Snoopy 1" and "Snoopy 2." In 2002, MetLife signed an exclusive contract that granted them the rights to continue using Peanuts in their advertising materials, which became an international contract in 2006.
In 2016, as part of a shift away from consumer insurance in favor of corporate clients, MetLife ended its partnership with Peanuts and rebranded to remove Peanuts imagery.
Tropes seen in the campaign include:
- Abandoned Mascot: Snoopy spent decades as the mascot of the company, but was retired along with the other Peanuts characters after the 2016 rebrand.
- Anthropomorphic Typography: A MetLife campaign from the early 2000s discussed the various "if"s in life, which were represented by the word "if" appearing in various life situations. In some situations, the word was anthropomorphized, like when one "if" slams into another "if" during a football game, causing an injury.
- Big Damn Heroes: Several ads have a character, often live-action, stuck in distress, only for Snoopy to swing in and save them. For example, he saved a woman from falling off a cliff, he saved a man from a tiger attack by swinging in on some vines and taming the tiger to act like a kitty, and he flew in with a ladder to save a canoeing couple from going over a waterfall.
- Birthday Episode: One ad takes place on Linus' birthday. Lucy tries to persuade him to use his birthday money on a big party, but Linus wants to put it into a mutual fund. Lucy gets hot with anger until she hears about the potential for Linus to make more money.
- Bouquet Toss: A pair of birds get married in one spot and throw Snoopy the tiny bouquet, causing him to gulp nervously.
- Christmas Episode: A Christmas-themed spot had Snoopy play charades with the kids at a Christmas party, miming the phrase "Season's Greetings."
- One spot promoted Colgate, Chevrolet, and Crayola because the companies use MetLife, with the Peanuts characters visiting each company.
- The company advertised a prepaid MetLife card that could be bought exclusively at Walmart. In the ad, Lucy hosted a life insurance stand inside a Walmart.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Lucy describing Schroeder: "Now please enjoy this hold music, performed by the world's cutest, sweetest, most cutest musician ever. Did I mention he's cute?"
- Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: In one ad, Charlie Brown and Sally show off some outfits their grandpa sent them from an international trip. Then Charlie Brown is loudly interrupted by blaring bagpipes, and he remarks with embarrassment, "Oh yeah, he sent my dog something too." Cut to Snoopy playing the bagpipes as Woodstock and the birds provide percussion, all wearing little kilts.
- Heli-Critter: Snoopy can rotate his ears to behave like a helicopter, which comes in handy whenever he needs to save someone from falling to their doom.
- Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": In one ad, Snoopy writes a story on his typewriter about a series of disasters going off around a maid on a dark and stormy night, but the maid wasn't worried because her money was safe with Met Life, thanks to her hero, "the dashing Met Life Rep." Linus rolls his eyes when he reads that part.
- High-Dive Hijinks: In one spot, Woodstock plunges into Snoopy's water dish from the high dive. Three nearby birds hold up cards with very high scores.
- Inevitable Waterfall: In one ad, a live-action couple canoeing down a river find themselves stuck on the edge of a waterfall. Luckily, Snoopy helicopters in (using his ears) and brings them to safety.
- Injection Plot: One spot had the kids wait to get immunized, educating the audience about how important it is to vaccinate children.
- Literal Soapbox Speech: One of the commercials with the Peanuts gang had Sally Brown stand on a soapbox to wax poetic about Metropolitan Life with much Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
- Massive Multiplayer Crossover: One commercial started with the Peanuts cast as usual, walking through a forest... then brought in He-Man, Pepé Le Pew and Penelope Pussycat, Atom Ant, Speedy Gonzales, Scooby-Doo and his gang, Mr. Magoo, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Waldo (far in the background, naturally), and various other iconic cartoon characters.
- Out of Focus: During the mid-2000s "For all the 'if's in life" campaign, Snoopy was the only Peanuts character who regularly appeared in advertising, with the others rarely appearing in ads. The 2010s featured the other characters more often, but characters that weren't Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Lucy appeared less often than they did in the early days of the campaign.
- Personal Raincloud: In one spot, a raincloud suddenly appears over Peppermint Patty's head, rains on her, and zaps her with lightning, representing the uncontrollable misfortune that may befell MetLife customers.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: Some spots blend the cartoon Peanuts characters with live action settings and actors, such as a spot where Snoopy saves a live-action rock climber from falling down a live-action mountain.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: In one spot, Sally Brown gives a soapbox speech about the insurance company, using a lot of flowery complicated language. Snoopy chimes in with signs reminding her, "Keep it simple, sweetie," since MetLife tries to make things simple to understand. Sally even turns the "Get Met, it pays" slogan into, "Acquire Met, it remunerates!"
- Slogan: Early commercials all end with, "Get Met. It pays." Later slogans included, "For all the "if"s in life" and "I can do this."
- Thanksgiving Episode: One spot has the kids put on a Thanksgiving play.
- Vine Swing: Snoopy saves a man in a jungle from a tiger attack by swinging in on some vines and whipping the tiger into submission, complete with a Tarzan yell.Voiceover: Are you lost in a financial jungle? What you need... is someone who knows the ropes.
- Wingding Eyes: When Lucy hears that Linus could make thousands of dollars with a mutual fund, she gets dollar signs in her eyes.