Kraft Heinz (KHC) is pausing promotion for its Super Bowl ad that shows the death of longtime Planters mascot Mr. Peanut following the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others.
Planters’ last week released a commercial in which the 104-year old mascot falls to his death after the company’s Nutmobile veers off a cliff. The passengers – actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh – all land on a tree branch, but Mr. Peanut “saves” them by letting go and falling to his death. The vehicle then explodes.
The initial news of Mr. Peanut’s demise went viral and was supported with paid promotion on social media platforms. Heinz said it’s stopping that aspect of the campaign. But the company told CNN Business that the 30-second television spot will air as planned during Sunday’s NFL game.
Planters said in a statement it was “saddened” by the news of Bryant’s death and will “evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy.”
The company added that “at this point, the pause impacts only paid advertising on channels like Twitter and YouTube, and some other outreach in the immediate wake of this tragedy. No change has been made to our plans for Super Bowl Sunday.”
Heinz made the decision following Sunday’s helicopter crash that killed the NBA legend, his daughter Gianna and seven others. The group was flying to Thousand Oaks, California, for a basketball game where Gianna was expected to play and Bryant was expected to coach.