Why Planters Paused Its Mr. Peanut Ad Campaign After Kobe Bryant's Death

Last week the big buzz in the ad world was all about Planters' rather morbid campaign that kicked off with killing beloved centenarian mascot Mr. Peanut. Other ad mascots were quick to chime in with expressions of sympathy, while the general public was a bit confused, yet highly entertained, as the commercial depicting Peanut's death quickly went viral on YouTube. Planters had planned a follow-up ad to air during a prime third quarter Super Bowl viewing spot. This ad would, according to CNBC, "broadcast Mr. Peanut's funeral, so the world can mourn the loss of the beloved legume together."

Well, in light of Sunday's fatal helicopter crash involving former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, suddenly the idea of a mascot funeral just doesn't seem so funny anymore. Planters released a statement on Monday that the company "has paused all campaign activities."

What does this mean for Mr. Peanut?

According to AdAge, Planters currently has no plans to change its Super Bowl ad, and you can bet they won't be canceling it. The average cost of a 30-second spot during Super Bowl LIV is a hot $5.6 million (via AdAge), and there's no way Planters is going to shell out that kind of cash without getting anything in return.

So what, exactly, does Planters intend to do? Officially, they will "evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by [the Kobe Bryant] tragedy." No-one outside of the corporate inner circle seems to know just what that means, and it's possible they're not sure, either. It may be Planters execs are huddled in a conference room right now, perspiring profusely as they ponder re-packaging Peanut's passing. 

One thing's for sure — with just a few days left 'til Super Sunday, they'd better come up with an idea right quick. The pause in Mr. Peanut-related advertising activities doesn't mean that the late, lamented legume is due to be resurrected, and The Estate of Mr. Peanut's Twitter account does confirm that he is, in fact, dead. Still, it must be noted that, in best horror-movie franchise tradition, the commercial doesn't actually show his lifeless shell... Stay tuned for the sequel, whatever it may be.