Planters suspends ads in light of Bryant’s death

Published 9:42 pm Monday, January 27, 2020

Planters has paused some of its advertising surrounding the reported death of its marketing icon, Mr. Peanut, in the wake of a real-life tragedy that killed nine people on Sunday.

Renowned basketball player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died when their helicopter crashed Sunday morning in Calabasas, Calif., near Los Angeles.

“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,” said Jeremy Mullman with marketing agency ICF Next.


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However, Mullman clarified the Super Bowl ad will still run as planned. The pause impacts only paid advertising on social media channels and some other outreach.

The fictional death of Mr. Peanut caused a stir when it was announced Wednesday. In the pre-Super Bowl commercial already released, Mr. Peanut is driving the Nutmobile with friends Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes when he swerves to avoid an armadillo, sending the vehicle careening off the side of a mountain. As the three friends cling precariously to a branch, it starts to crack under their weight, and Mr. Peanut lets go to save Walsh and Snipes. He falls into the wreckage of the Nutmobile, which promptly explodes in a ball of fire.

The Super Bowl ad is expected to show Mr. Peanut’s funeral, shedding some light for many people — including here in Mr. Peanut’s birthplace of Suffolk — on the intent of this unusual marketing scheme.

The hype surrounding Mr. Peanut was overshadowed Sunday by the real-life tragedy that killed all nine people aboard the helicopter when it crashed in low visibility conditions and set off a fire that hampered rescue efforts. Also on board, in addition to Bryant and his daughter, were Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester and Ara Zobayan.

Bryant, 41, had a 20-year career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers. He led the NBA in scoring during two of those seasons and is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

The fictional wreck of the Nutmobile and the real-life helicopter crash have some eerie similarities; however, Planters was not the only company to suspend advertising efforts after the crash.

Procter & Gamble, Pop-Tarts and Avocados From Mexico also announced on Monday they would not release their Super Bowl ads that day as planned in light of Sunday’s tragedy, according to