Planters shocked customers last week when it killed off its 104-year-old mascot Mr. Peanut — but now the brand says it is putting the campaign on hold in light of the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
On January 22, Planters released a Super Bowl pregame ad showing Mr. Peanut plunging to his death after a car crash. But Planters said today that it is pausing promoting the campaign.
‘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,’ the brand said in a statement, according to AdAge.
Sensitive: Planters is halting promotion of a Super Bowl pregame ad that shows Mr. Peanut plummeting to his death
The brand says it is reevaluating the 30-second spot in light of Kobe Bryant’s death
Tragic: The 41-year-old basketball legend died in a helicopter crash this weekend
Planters has already released the commercial online and had intended to air it on TV ahead of the Super Bowl during the pregame, though it’s unclear if that spot will be pulled.
The brand also has a commercial set to air during the game showing Mr. Peanut’s funeral.
According to AdAge, there are no plans to pull or change that ad.
According to the Wall Street Journal, several other companies set to advertise during the Super Bowl have halted their plans to publicize the campaigns in light of Kobe’s death.
The companies intend to release the ads later in the week instead.
In the ad, Matt Walsh, Wesley Snipes, and Mr. Peanut all manage to grab onto a branch and are holding on for dear life when it begins to break, unable to support all the weight
Mr. Peanut tips his hat and lets go, falling into the canyon below and hitting the NUTmobile, which blows up
The Planters ad shows actors Wesley Snipes and Veep’s Matt Walsh getting into a scary car accident in the NUTmobile.
Matt, Wesley, and Mr. Peanut all manage to grab onto a branch and are holding on for dear life when it begins to break, unable to support all the weight.
That’s when their road trip pal Mr. Peanut — who was created in 1916 — saves them by letting go, plummeting to his death.
‘It’s with heavy hearts that we confirm Mr. Peanut has passed away at 104 years old,’ Samantha Hess, Planters Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz, said in a press release.
‘He will be remembered as the legume who always brought people together for nutty adventures and a good time. We encourage fans to tune in to Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the third quarter of the Super Bowl to celebrate his life.’
‘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,’ the brand said in a statement
Matt Walsh also spoke about the loss.
‘Mr. Peanut was more than just a friend — he was a hero. His passing has shook me to my core,’ he said.
‘I’ll do my best to honor his legacy and be there for my friend s like he was always there for me even until our last wild ride together.
‘I’ll pay my last respects during his funeral on Super Bowl Sunday. I encourage our entire nation to do the same.’
The brand is also encouraging fans to share their memories with the hashtag #RIPeanut, and will be giving away products with commemorative packaging from January 24 to January 27.
Iconic: Mr. Peanut first debut in print on February 23, 1918 edition of the Saturday Evening Post (pictured)
Throwback: Planters was founded in 1906, but mascot didn’t come around until a decade later, when the company’s founder Amedeo Obici held a contest (1930s coloring book pictured)
A century: The winning idea came from Antonio Gentile, who at the time was just 14 years old and living in Suffolk, Virginia (pictured: WWII war poster)
Planters was founded in 1906, but the Mr. Peanut mascot didn’t come around until a decade later, when the company’s founder Amedeo Obici held a contest.
The winning idea came from Antonio Gentile, who at the time was just 14 years old and living in Suffolk, Virginia. Gentile drew a peanut with arms, legs, and a face and had him doing different things like somersaulting and riding a toy horse.
The Suffolk News Herald reports that Planters then had a professional artist jazz up the drawings, adding a top hat and monocle.
Mr. Peanut first debut in print on February 23, 1918 edition of the Saturday Evening Post.
Gentile won $5 for his efforts, and Obici went on to pay for him and four of his siblings to go to college.
Rewarded: Gentile won $5 for his efforts, and Obici went on to pay for him and four of his siblings to go to college (pictured: ad from 1963)
Old-timey: He changed a bit over the years, and his full name, according to Gentile, is Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe
According to Mental Floss, Mr. Peanut’s full name, given to him by Gentile, was Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe.
‘He got his first Times Square billboard in 1937, he first starred in commercials in the 1950s, and his NUTmobile debuted in 1999, according to the brand’s website.
But he didn’t talk until Robert Downey Jr. was cast to voice him in 2010. The role was taken over by Bill Hader in 2013.
In 2016, he celebrated his 100th birthday.
‘Mr. Peanut’s continued popularity is a testament to America’s love of Planters nuts,’ Sean Marks, vice president of marketing at Planters, told Parade at the time.
Over the years: When the mascot turned 100, Planters put out an infographic showing how he evolved