Super Bowl advertisers edit commercials in wake of Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Super Bowl advertisers are quickly editing scenes and revamping release strategies of Big Game commercials in the wake of the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter and others.
General Motors, Hard Rock International and Hyundai Genesis are among brands rethinking their Super Bowl ads.
General Motors released four teasers of its Super Bowl commercial on Thursday, which will star LeBron James, but the NBA star did not appear in the teasers.
The automaker had planned to release the full ad this week, but opted to hold off in the wake of Bryant’s death.
James was close to Bryant and considered him a brother. In an Instagram post following the news of Bryant’s death Sunday, LeBron wrote that he was “heartbroken and devastated.”
“Out of respect for this week’s news and all those involved, we are holding the full ad until game day,” a General Motors’ spokeswoman told Ad Age.
Similarly, Hard Rock removed a scene from its Super Bowl ad that included another basketball legend, Kareem Abdul Jabar.
“Hard Rock is incredibly saddened by the news from this past weekend and sends deepest condolences to all those affected by this immense tragedy,” the company said in a statement. “Given the news, we immediately made the decision to remove scenes including Kareem Abdul Jabbar that could be considered insensitive.”
The commercial, directed by Michael Bay, features Jennifer Lopez, who is headlining the halftime show along with Shakira.
Genesis decided to remove a helicopter from its ad, the company confirmed Wednesday. The original spot showed images of a helicopter as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend scoff at images of “old luxury.”
"We are currently re-cutting the ad, to remove a stationary helicopter that was in the opening two seconds of the commercial,” a Genesis spokesman said. “The ad had been filmed, produced and delivered well before Sunday’s tragedy, so we took down the spot out of compassion and sensitivity to the families."
Following the news of Bryant’s death, several advertisers paused their Super Bowl marketing push. Planters, in particular, has been under a microscope regarding its Super Bowl campaign in which it killed off its spokescharacter Mr. Peanut.
The company released an ad last week showing the fictitious legume falling to his death and exploding into flames. It plans to air a commercial featuring Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the game.
—Contributing: E.J. Schultz