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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 11/ 9/2010

ANIMATION OF THE DAY: Robert Downey Jr. voices new MR. PEANUT ad

By Michael Cavna

Robert Downey Jr. has played his share of nut jobs, but this is likely the first time he's ever taken a nut job.

In an ad that has just debuted on a Mr. Peanut Facebook page prior to spreading to screens big and small, Downey Jr. voices the fashionably remade legume as part of a $30-million-plus "character revitalization" campaign, according to Planters and its parent company, Kraft Foods.

The new ad features the 94-year-old Mr. Peanut as if he'd been made over for a Wes Anderson stop-motion animation: The suave snack-mascot still sports his trademark monocle, gloves and cane, but he now flaunts a snug, flannel suit jacket and a darker shell, as he's surrounded by woodland creatures in a party chock full of autumnal tones.

"At Planters, we know how to throw a remarkable holiday party," Mr. Peanut says in the ad. "Just serve classy snacks and be a gracious host -- no matter who shows up."

Accompanied by new friend Benson -- a single-nut sidekick -- Mr. Peanut must fend off party guest Richard the Nutcracker. Fortunately, judging by his bandaged noggin, Mr. Peanut just a week earlier proved a tough nut to crack.

"Well, forgive and forget," Mr. Peanut says before wielding his cane like a weapon -- lodging it into Richard's lethal mouth -- and cracking wise as he escapes a social jam.

Planters's new slogan is "Naturally remarkable."

Mr. Peanut has a rich history with ad agencies. Responding to a 1916 Planters Peanuts contest, a 14-year-old boy named Antonio Gentile created a "peanut person" mascot that an ad agency turned into the trademarked Mr. Peanut, from spats to hat.

To view the entire "My Remarkable Holiday Party" ad, you can find it on Mr. Peanut's Facebook "holiday party" page or on YouTube.

By Michael Cavna  | November 9, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Animation  | Tags:  Mr. Peanut, Robert Downey Jr.  
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