When we received a recent press release informing us that US insurance giant MetLife had provided more than $180 million in funding for UK port operator Forth Ports, it was a reminder of MetLife’s continuing role as a significant provider of long-term finance to infrastructure assets. But it also served as a reminder of one of the world’s most enduring cartoon characters given that, at the top right-hand corner of the press release, was a gleeful-looking Snoopy.
The lovable dog, a mainstay of the late Charles M. Schultz’s Peanuts comic strip, began his association with MetLife back in 1985 via prime-time TV ads. At the time, says the MetLife website, “they were recognized as revolutionary. Here was an insurance company — one of those staid, formal, unapproachable institutions — aligning itself with cartoon characters”.
Infrastructure is also sometimes seen as rather “staid” (though not in this neck of the woods, of course) so it too can surely only benefit from association with the mischievous, fun-loving canine. At the very least the press release was a joyful reminder of growing up with the weird and wonderful antics – and interesting philosophies – of the Peanuts cast of characters.