Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP

Planters Scraps Super Bowl Ad in Wake of Kobe Bryant's Death

The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event in the country. Even those that don't know the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are squaring off this year in Miami, Florida for Super Bowl LIV will probably tune in just for the commercials.

Last year, almost 100 million people watched CBS' telecast of Super Bowl LIII. Considering tickets to this year's installment of the NFL's championship game are selling for a record amount, we can safely assume that viewership will surpass that mark. That means companies paying $5.6 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad will get their money's worth.

Super Bowl commercials have always been popular, and some — Coca Cola's "Hey kid, catch" commercial featuring Mean Joe Greene and the Budweiser Clydesdale commercials — are timeless. Last year's NFL 100th Anniversary commercial stole the show, and this year's most memorable ad might come from the masterminds at Planters.

The peanut company had apparently killed off its beloved mascot, Mr. Peanut, in a leaked commercial that was supposed to air during the Super Bowl. The commercial was reportedly a teaser to a commercial showing Mr. Peanut's funeral that will air during the third quarter of the big game.

Planters Super Bowl Commercial Teaser

The 30-second spot produced by VaynerMedia begins with Mr. Peanut driving the Planters Nutmobile alongside actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh. The group is singing Cutting Crews' "(I Just) Died in Your Arms," while road-tripping through canyons before swerving off the road to avoid hitting an animal.

Mr. Peanut, Snipes and Walsh fly out of the Nutmobile and are hanging on to a branch on the side of a cliff. One of them has to let go, as the branch is too heavy to hold all of them.

In a heroic act, Mr. Peanut lets go of his cane and falls to his death. Planters made sure to leave no room for questions or conspiracy theories judging from the exploding Nutmobile at the end. A black screen then appears and reads, "Mr. Peanut 1916-2020."

"We're devastated to confirm that Mr. Peanut is gone. He died doing what he did best - having people's backs when they needed him most. #RIPeanut" Planters' Twitter account wrote.

Planters appears to be pretty serious about its spokesnut's death. It changed its Twitter name to "The Estate of Mr. Peanut" and confirmed his death in another social media post. He was 104.

If he had family, he likely outlived them all.

UPDATE (January 29, 2020): After the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, the company decided to pause its Super Bowl campaign and reevaluate its marketing strategy.

Planters released the following statement:

"We deeply regret any offense or upset caused by this coincidental timing. We are saddened by this weekend's news and Planters has paused all campaign activities, including paid media, and will evaluate next steps through a lens of sensitivity to those impacted by this tragedy."

Planters is still considering how to proceed leading up to Super Bowl LIV in Miami on February 2.

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