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Mr. Peanut, a genuine nut case, speaks out after 94 years of silence

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PR Newswire

(Read caption) After 94 speechless years, Mr. Peanut (sounding a lot like Robert Downey Jr.) has plenty to say in a new ad campaign that debuted Tuesday on Facebook.

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It's been 83 years since dialogue came to the movies. The first talking cartoon for TV arrived 60 years ago. But in all this time, one well-known animated character has remained mute.

Until now.

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Mr. Peanut, the elegant 94-year-old logo for Planters, uttered his first words in a commercial that debuted Tuesday on Facebook.

Can a top-hatted, monocled, cane-'n-spats-toting cartoon born during the Woodrow Wilson administration really make it in today's social media?

Apparently, the answer is yes. Twelve hours after the midnight unveiling of the Mr. Peanut ad, more than 150,000 people had clicked the "Like" button and, presumably, previewed the video.

The ad shows dapper Mr. Peanut (voiced by actor Robert Downey Jr.) hosting a holiday party and saying that to throw a classy holiday party, "just serve classy snacks and be a gracious host."

Suddenly, a nutcracker interrupts the festivities and, well, you can see how graciously Mr. Peanut handles the situation. Sort of. (Click below.)

“People love Mr. Peanut,” Jason Levine, senior director of marketing for Kraft-owned Planters, said in a release. “He has always had a rich personality, and giving him a voice now allows people to connect with him in an authentic and entertaining way.“

The ad is the first in a series of stop-motion animation ads that will highlight Planters' "Naturally Remarkable" promotion campaign. The idea is to connect the venerable nut with a new generation of consumers – to make Mr. Peanut hip while still keepin' it real, you might say.

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To emphasize the sustainable and natural angle, Planters is collaborating with The Corps Network, a state and federally funded program for young adults performing community service. Together, they plan to transform neglected land in communities around the United States into natural spaces designed by landscape architect Ken Smith.

The idea is to promote something natural and sustainable with a bit of whimsy – not unlike a well-dressed peanut who happens to grow in the dirt.