Planters cuts its Super Bowl pregame ad and will air Mr. Peanut's funeral earlier in the game
Planters will no longer air its commercial showing Mr. Peanut's death in the Super Bowl pregame and is moving up the ad featuring the mascot’s funeral by one quarter.
The shift in media strategy comes as several marketers reevaluated their Super Bowl ad plans following last Sunday’s helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others.
Planters paused all paid marketing efforts soon after the helicopter crash, including halting “Road Trip” airings on TV and social media, but kept its plan to show Mr. Peanut's funeral during the Super Bowl. “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 Monday.
Now, the brand says the funeral spot, which had been set to run in the third quarter, has been moved to the second quarter. Planters is swapping ad slots with its Kraft Heinz sibling Heinz. The swap means Mr. Peanut's funeral will now air before a tribute to Bryant set to run during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Planters will also no longer air the “Road Trip” commercial that shows Mr. Peanut falling to his fiery death in the Super Bowl pregame as it had previously planned.
On Jan. 21, five days before Bryant's death, Planters unveiled a commercial featuring Mr. Peanut driving his Nutmobile, while passengers Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh sing along to Cutting Crews’ “(I Just) Died in Your Arms.” Soon, the three are flung from the Nutmobile onto a tree branch. Mr. Peanut jumps trying to save the two men, crashes onto the Nutmobile and dies when the vehicle explodes.
“Road Trip” kicked off a marketing push focused on mourning the death of Mr. Peanut and promoting the Super Bowl funeral ad. The campaign drew plenty of buzz. Dozens of other brands and fans paid their respects to Mr. Peanut using the hashtag #RIPeanut. Devotional candles memorializing the mascot were sent to reporters, while fans could win commemorative cans of peanuts featuring logos from prior decades, and memorial pins if they spot the Nutmobile (the real ones still exist).
The effort drew enough attention in its first few days that Mr. Peanut appeared in a daily cartoon posted by The New Yorker. And the death was featured twice on “Saturday Night Live."
Planters was not the only marketer to rethink its Super Bowl marketing strategy in the wake of Bryant's helicopter crash. On Monday, several brands paused their Big Game efforts, including delaying the release of their ads so soon after the NBA legend’s death. Brands also announced creative adjustments, such as Hyundai-owned luxury brand Genesis removing a helicopter from its ad.
Planters works with VaynerMedia on creative and Starcom on media.