Toyota is making last-minute edits to its Super Bowl ad to remove a scene that could be perceived as insensitive in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash last Sunday.
“Out of sensitivity to recent news events we made the decision to adjust our creative,” the automaker said in a statement to Ad Age. The final ad has not been made public yet, and Toyota had not previously released any teasers or previews. The 60-second commercial by Saatchi & Saatchi will kick-off a new campaign for the Highlander SUV.
The adjustment follows similar last-minute moves made by other advertisers. Hyundai-owned Genesis edited its ad after it was released to remove a helicopter. The lighthearted spot originally showed images of a helicopter as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend scoffed at images of “old luxury.” Hard Rock removed a scene from its Super Bowl ad that included Los Angeles Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. General Motors, meanwhile, opted not to release its ad early out of respect to Bryant and others affected by the crash. The final ad for GM’s new electric Hummer includes LeBron James, who is close to Bryant.
But other advertisers with scenes or plot lines that could be seen as insensitive have yet to make adjustments. Snickers features a helicopter lowering a giant Snickers bar into the ground starting roughly halfway through its 30-second Super Bowl spot. Small wording at the bottom of the screen during the helicopter sequence declares "This is a dramatization. Obviously." The Mars Wrigley brand has not responded to inquiries about whether it plans to alter its commercial.
Planters killed off its Mr. Peanut spokescharacter in a pregame ad that began airing last week, and said it would show the legume's funeral in a third-quarter ad. It paused all paid media around the effort in the wake of Sunday's tragedy but has said that it still plans to run the ad in the game. The in-game commercial has not yet been released.
Contributing: Jessica Wohl