Ahead of Super Bowl LIV a commercial from Planters took over Twitter on Wednesday after the Twitter account of Mr Peanut announced his death at the age of 104. Mr. Peanut, who always wore a signature top hat and monocle, has served as the Planters mascot since 1916.
The ad, called "Road Trip" starred Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes, but the trip goes awry and they all end up hanging by a dry tree. "Mr. Peanut died doing what he did best – having people’s backs when they needed him most. #RIPeanut"
The following tweet was then retweeted by Snipes and promoted into peoples timelines.
It is with heavy hearts that we confirm that Mr. Peanut has died at 104. In the ultimate selfless act, he sacrificed himself to save his friends when they needed him most. Please pay your respects with #RIPeanut pic.twitter.com/VFnEFod4Zp
— The Estate of Mr. Peanut (@MrPeanut) January 22, 2020
Tragically, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven other parents and children. News about the crash overwhelmed social media as fans from around the world were shocked. A petition to change the NBA logo to honour Kobe got more than two million signatures and all of LA's buildings from Randy's famous doughnut to the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier were lit up in purple and gold. In light of all this, the promoted tweets regarding a dead mascot became even more tasteless. To immediatly halt the campaign would be the obvious thing to do.
Hey, @MrPeanut considering the tragic news about Kobe today you might want to chill with this promotion at the moment. Smooches. pic.twitter.com/TIov1foVep
— adland ® (@adland) January 27, 2020
On Monday Planters released a statement that they had halted the teaser campaign.
“We wanted you to know that we are saddened by this weekend’s news, and Planters has paused campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy. 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.”
The plans they speak of include a Super Bowl spot to air in-game where the scene is set at Mr Peanut's supposed funeral.
We'll see if they stick by this idea, as it's difficult to imagine a funeral to be funny in any scenario. I'd reconsider the idea, personally.
ad titles: “Death” and “Rebirth”
Production Co.: Radical Media
Director: Dave Meyers
Editorial Company: Cut+Run
Editor: Jon Grover
Note: “Death” aired prior to Sunday.
To add to the impact this has had on fans worldwide, Nike has said that ALL Of the Kobe merch has sold out on their website. A search for Kobe merch instead leads you to an obit.