Planters paused a Super Bowl advertising campaign that hinged on the death of Mr. Peanut, following the recent death of nine people in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
"We wanted you to know that we are saddened by this weekend’s news and Planters has paused all campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy," a spokesperson for Planters said in an emailed statement.
Planters killed off Mr. Peanut in an ad posted to social media Jan. 21, which showed Mr. Peanut, and his friends, Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh, getting into a car accident. As the trio tries to escape the swerving NUTmobile, they cling to a tree branch, but although they were momentarily safe, their combined weight nearly snaps the branch until Mr. Peanut decides to let go and sacrifice his life to save his friends.
The ad drew a variety of responses, with many leaving tributes to the mascot, who was created in 1916. Planters planned to run the ad on television before the Feb. 2 Super Bowl game, along with a spot of Mr. Peanut's funeral during the game's third quarter. The snack brand encouraged people to "pay their respects" by participating in its social media campaign and by entering a contest to win Mr. Peanut swag.
The Planters spokesperson said that as of now, the pause only impacts paid advertising on channels like Twitter and YouTube as well as "some other outreach in the immediate wake of this tragedy." No changes have yet been made to the company's plans for Super Bowl Sunday.