Robert Downey Jr., the man who’s done so much wrong he can now do none, is playing yet another iconic character — the world’s most famous legume. Yes, RDJ is Kraft’s Mr. Peanut. In his first showing as the voice of the 94-year-old mascot, he hosts a Christmas party for everyone in the nut-world — except a Nutcracker with a history of belligerence (see video below). The high-profile casting is part of Kraft’s plan to modernize Mr. Peanut — who’s been silent since his debut in 1916 — and follows the launch this past January of Mr. Peanut’s naturalistic Facebook page, regularly updated with candid photos and his thoughts on topics like skinny jeans. Mr. P is also out of his 1980s yellow shell and into an old-school pitted brown, which, coupled with a natty coat and RDJ voice, reads straight from the pages of the Wes Anderson Stylebook of Anthropomorphizing.
It’s all so damn charming, I find myself craving more of this new Mr. Peanut — his morning routine, his views on the war, maybe a feature-length biopic I could watch through my own monocle while throwing back a satisfying handful of Planters peanuts. Is this what successful advertising feels like?