In 2010, Mr. Peanut threw a holiday party for Planters.
It was a memorable soirée for several reasons. Mr. Peanut, the iconic Planters legume, was debuting a new look — and his first-ever speaking voice. The “Naturally Remarkable” ad campaign from TBWA Worldwide spin-off Being evoked a return to Mr. Peanut’s roots. He traded his signature yellow coloring for a rustic brown that tied in with his earliest designs from 1916. Mr. Peanut, already dapper in dress, became even more fashionable in a flannel suit with spats, a monocle, a top hat, cane, and gloves. Initially voiced by actor Robert Downey Jr. (actor Bill Hader is the current voice of Mr. Peanut), the “new” Mr. Peanut showcased the brand mascot as a refined class act.
Serving delicious snacks and making the hosting rounds, Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe (Mr. Peanut’s full name) proved to be the life of the party.
That is, until Richard the Nutcracker showed up.
A Nutty Rivalry Begins
Was Richard actually on the guest list? It’s implied that the character invited himself to Mr. Peanut’s fêté. However, Mr. P still acts as a gracious host despite the pair’s… issues.
Notice the bandage on Mr. Peanut’s head? It’s all that’s holding the legume together after Richard nearly cracked him up.
While Richard does apologize for his behavior, Mr. Peanut settles the score in his own way. He sticks his cane between Richard’s teeth to keep himself, and other Planters nuts in attendance, from cracking during the party.
HouseSpecial, formerly LAIKA/house, animated this Planters holiday party commercial. The animation is done completely in stop motion, frame by frame, with meticulously crafted puppets. Animation director Mark Gustafson, director Ringan Ledwidge, and HouseSpecial’s artists created “an entire world” for Mr. Peanut and his sophisticated friends. The space Mr. Peanut hosts this party in, for example, is actually part of Mr. Peanut’s peanut plant.
Unlike Mr. Peanut’s fully-rounded personality, Richard the Nutcracker is a one-dimensional nemesis.
“The Nutcracker has a one-track mind,” Ledwidge said, “He basically just wants to crack nuts.”
Richard the Nutcracker Returns!
Six years later, a new campaign from Leo Burnett Chicago debuted for Planters. “Irresistibly Planters” gave viewers a glimpse into the Planters factory, and marked the return of Richard the Nutcracker.
Remember, he’s got a one-track mind. Nothing will keep him away from his snack cravings, even though he doesn’t realize Mr. Peanut oversees the factory’s operations.
Before you know it, Richard is sealed into a glass box with roasted nuts barely within reach.
It sounds a little bit of a punishment, but Richard is actually acting as a “cravability expert.” If he approves Planters’ nuts, then consumers will want them too.
Who could stay away from such a fantastic factory? Mr. Peanut’s factory, another HouseSpecial creation, is total eye candy. Drawings for the factory were originally completed by hand.
Then, dedicated makers brought the factory to life step by step. According to Gustafson, creating the factory takes two months and 10,000 hours from start to finish.
“Then, we have something really nice.” Gustafson says.
I think he’s being modest. You have an entire world filled to the brim with Mr. Peanut’s vision. He pecan do anything he puts his mind to, after all.
Mr. Peanut Challenges Richard the Nutcracker
Nearly 10 years later, and Mr. Peanut is still going through a long-suffering rivalry with Richard the Nutcracker. However, in 2019 Mr. P is ready to challenge Richard.
Mr. Peanut is asking fans to pick sides. If they’re loyal to the legume, they will part with their own nutcrackers in exchange for tasty Planters for everyone to enjoy. From now until December 19th, three NUTmobiles will roam the United States. They’ll trade your nutcracker for snacks — and have some freebie Planters peanuts on hand, too. Check to see where the next NUTmobile is in your area with the NUTmobile Tracker, and keep an eye out for Mr. P! He’ll be showing up in cities including Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
What will happen to the nutcrackers and with the duo’s rivalry? Follow Mr. Peanut on Twitter to find out!