Planters' online Super Bowl marketing hits pause after Kobe Bryant's death
Planters paused its Super Bowl campaign centered around the fictitious Mr. Peanut’s death following the deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others in a helicopter crash.
“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.
As of Monday, it remained unclear how the brand would proceed with its marketing strategy leading up to the Super Bowl. There are currently no plans to change the Super Bowl spot, which is set to show a funeral for Mr. Peanut.
Planters killed off its Mr. Peanut spokesnut in a pregame ad, “Road Trip,” that first appeared online on Jan. 21. In the 30-second spot, Mr. Peanut was ejected from his Nutmobile along with actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh, then let go of the branch the three were hanging onto, plummeting to the ground and exploding, along with his vehicle.
As of last week, Planters planned to air the “Road Trip” ad on TV as a Super Bowl pregame spot, and then follow it up with Mr. Peanut’s funeral in a 30-second spot set to run during the third quarter.
Last week, Planters amped-up its social media outreach with posts including the hashtag #RIPeanut, and sought out and received numerous responses from brands and fans expressing their sympathies for the fictional character. The effort quickly garnered praise as one of the most popular Super Bowl marketing plans released ahead of the game, though some wondered whether killing off the spokesnut was the right strategy for the brand. The PR plans included sending out devotional candles featuring the character.
Now, following the death of Bryant on Sunday, the brand has paused all efforts leading up to the game.
Planters is working with VaynerMedia on its Super Bowl campaign. VaynerMedia also handled the Kraft Heinz brand’s 2019 Super Bowl campaign.