11.08.10, 02:49 PM #1
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Totally Nuts: Mr. Peanut Gets a Makeover
It's official: The Planters Peanut guy is getting a voice. And a gray flannel suit. And a sidekick. The suavest of actors, Robert Downey Jr., will speak for the until-now, not-talking nut. Mr. P has come a long way since his yellow animated self showed up in 1916.
The new and improved Mr. Peanut will be introduced on his Facebook page at midnight on Nov. 9. Yes, the lanky legume has a Facebook page.
The campaign will launch from there, and then head to your television, movie previews, and everywhere else peanut ads could be. Kraft Foods is spending a reported $30–35 million on the revamped mascot. So Mr. Peanut, this better be good.
For all you traditionalists, fear not: Even with the new toasty brown, more peanutty look, the salty spokesnut will keep his old-school top hat, his monocle, and his cane. After all, he's one natty nut. Still, expect some pushback from those who preferred the old character just as he was. As one ad guru put it, "He is who he is, and people respect his genuineness."
The ad will be holiday-themed and take place in Mr. Peanut's house, along with his shorter sidekick, named Benson. The nuts will recommend serving "classy snacks" and to be "a gracious host, no matter who shows up." This, for Mr. Peanut, includes welcoming a walking, talking nutcracker. Bygones, we're guessing.
As for that sidekick, well, now that the peanut can talk, he'll need someone to talk to. Just don't get any ideas. According to the head of creative development for the campaign, "Benson is quite enamored of Mr. Peanut." In case you were wondering, the ad agency calls the two "just friends." Benson does not live in Mr. Peanut's house. But we can assume he does like a good party.
While Downey Jr. is so cool that he even makes a talking peanut look good, this is not the only campaign he voices: He also serves as the narrator for Nissan ads.
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