Planters has paused part of its Super Bowl ad campaign centered around the death of the fictitious Mr. Peanut following Sunday’s deadly helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others.
Bryant was scheduled to coach a girls’ basketball game Sunday afternoon.
“We wanted you to know that we are saddened by this weekend’s news and Planters has paused campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy,” the company said in an emailed statement.
Planters killed off Mr. Peanut in an ad posted online on Jan. 21.
The ad, which is expected to air during the Super Bowl pregame show, saw Mr. Peanut and his friends Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh getting into a car accident. As the three friends hang on to a tree branch, Mr. Peanut decides to let go in order to save his friends, falling to his presumed death.
In a pre-game Super Bowl ad, Mr. Peanut apparently sacrifices himself to save Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh.
Kraft Heinz Company
The spokesnut’s social media accounts were all changed to “The Estate of Mr. Peanut” and tributes to the fictitious mascot poured in online. The brand encouraged fans to post tributes to the character and use the hashtag #RIPMrPeanut.
The company’s plans to pause the campaign currently only include paid advertising on channels like Twitter and YouTube, as well as “other outreach in the immediate wake of this tragedy,” a spokesperson for the company said in an email.
“No change has been made to our plans for Super Bowl Sunday,” the company added.
In addition to the pregame ad, an ad showing Mr. Peanut’s funeral is expected to air in the third quarter of the game.