BENT Reimagines the Timeless Mr. Peanut for the 2020 Holidays
Portland, OR – BENT Image Lab and the agency VaynerMedia have teamed up to create eye-catching holiday magic for Planters The Nuttiest Time of the Year 2020 campaign.
Planters, recognized as a worldwide staple for over 100 years, has well chronicled the tales of it’s mascot, Mr. Peanut. Originally designed by a schoolboy in 1916, the peanut has seen the limelight in many designs of varying mediums.
After dying a heroic death in a Super Bowl LIV ad, reborn as Peanut Junior shortly after, then celebrating his 21st birthday in the summer, Bart, aka Mr. Peanut, has had quite a year.
In this new spot produced by BENT, things pick up where Mr. Peanut’s story left off. He transforms from Gen Z-er ‘Bart’ to a middle aged gentleman after donning a red Santa’s cap he borrows from a nearby snowman. Like magic, the hat simultaneously transforms him and his environment to a hand made world of stop motion animation. The snowman comes to life and proceeds to show the newly transformed Mr. Peanut what the holidays are all about. Together they wander through the town, coming across folks finding great pleasure in nutty holiday traditions; such as a family’s ugly sweater competition; a busy shopper navigating a tower of gifts, and a decorated house’s blinking, blinding holiday light show. At the end of the tour, the snowman imparts to Mr Peanut the deepest meaning of the holidays, “It’s all about giving and the best gift is you.”
Director Chel White says, ”What we’ve created is a charming and funny new paradigm for Mr. Peanut to inhabit, one in which viewers can connect to in a warm, enjoyable way. Ever since the early 1960s, people have had strong associations between the December holidays and the hand-crafted look of stop motion animation. We’ve been excited to work with VaynerMedia to see Mr. Peanut, now middle-aged, continue his story in this toy-like miniature world.”
The most important part of the production was adapting such a beloved character as Mr. Peanut to stop motion in a fresh way. “Bringing Mr. Peanut to life in the physical world presented two challenges”, says Animation Supervisor Teresa Drilling. “To stay true to his graphic trademark, we used removable stickers to animate his face in a traditional 2D style, while also dealing with his complex, curved surface. The second challenge was to create natural character performances without a neck or waist. It really does come down to creating a spontaneous performance that can’t be entirely predicted. That’s part of the thrill and satisfaction of stop motion, something that an audience senses and enjoys too”.
As far as the overall design, director Chel White says, “The ultimate goal was to create a story that lived fully within the hand made look of stop motion yet captured a deep sense of the physical landscape”. To solve this dilemma, EP Ray Di Carlo says, “Chel and his team came up with the idea of seamlessly marrying the stop motion practical characters and foreground elements with elaborate backgrounds created entirely in CGI.” “It’s the whole package,” continues White, “The beauty and depth of the setting matches the breadth of the story and connects to the notion of what the holidays are truly all about.”