EAST HANOVER, NJ -- Planters is giving a voice to its iconic Mr. Peanut for the first time since he was created 94 years ago as part of a campaign to revitalize the mascot -- and the Kraft Foods brand -- for contemporary consumers.
Actor Robert Downey Jr. is the voice behind the dapper peanut, who will introduce consumers to the nut-size world of Planters in a series of stop-motion animation commercials that communicate the brand's new "Naturally Remarkable" tagline.
The first spot, which recently previewed on Mr. Peanut's Facebook page, gives the first glimpse into the life of the witty and charming anthropomorphic nut at a holiday party in his house, located under a peanut vine. The commercial, which will soon air on television and in movie theaters, also unveils a new look for Mr. Peanut. He still dons his signature top hat, monocle and cane but sports a darker shell and a gray suit.
The Planters campaign also includes a cause-related element through which Planters will help an organization named the Corps Network with conservation projects in cities nationwide.
Planters Peanuts was founded in 1906 in Wilkes-Barre, PA, by Italian immigrant Amedeo Obici. In 1916, the company held a contest to create a company logo. A 14-year-old schoolboy named Antonio Gentile won with his drawing of a "peanut man." An artist later added spats, top hat, monocle and cane to the drawing -- and Mr. Peanut was born.
In 2006, Planters conducted an online poll to determine whether to add a bow tie, cufflinks, or a pocketwatch to Mr. Peanut. The public voted for no change.