The Planters snack brand decided to pause its Super Bowl LIV ad campaign following the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine passengers, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
The campaign centers around the death of Planters’ mascot, Mr. Peanut. Last week, the peanut brand killed off their longtime mascot through a dramatic video advertisement. The video shows Mr. Peanut, along with actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh, holding onto a branch after the Nutmobile swerved off of a cliff. As the branch started to break, one of the three passengers had to let go. Mr. Peanut then sacrificed himself, and fell on top of their car that later burst into flames. The legume’s official Twitter account later tweeted about the incident.
AdAge first reported the news of the campaign’s pause. Planters released a statement:
“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.”
Planters has currently paused all paid advertisements set for social media channels such as Twitter and YouTube, but it is unknown how they will go about their already-paid-for ad for Super Bowl LIV. The advertisement is set to “broadcast Mr. Peanut’s funeral, so the world can mourn the loss of the beloved legume together” and will air during the game’s third quarter.
Why Do It In The First Place?
You, me, and many others are probably asking the same question: why? Why did Planters choose to go this route in the first place?
Mike Pierantozzi, group creative director at media agency VaynerMedia—who runs Planters’ campaigns—spoke with CNBC as to why they killed off the 104-year-old mascot. He mentioned how he and the agency spoke about how people react when fictional characters pass away, like Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame (Spoiler Alert), calling it a strange phenomeon. They then began to wonder how the world would react to the passing of Mr. Peanut.
“We did the unthinkable,” Pierantozzi said. “We created a program and an idea where Mr. Peanut dies, and dies specifically sacrificing himself for his friends, which has always been a tenet of who he is and what he does—he always puts others first.”
If you ask me, the entire concept is odd, especially basing it off of the death of fictional characters and celebrities. But I am very happy that they are pausing it in the wake of this terrible tragedy. We will just have to wait and see what route the whole campaign takes on Sunday.