"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," an ICF Next representative said via email on behalf of Planters. The PR firm has been working on the campaign.
The representative then clarified that "the pause impacts only paid advertising (on channels like Twitter and YouTube), and some other outreach in the immediate wake of this tragedy." The brand has not changed its Super Bowl Sunday plans, the representative added.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among the victims of a helicopter crash on Sunday in Southern California. People from all over the world have expressed shock at the basketball legend’s untimely passing.
Last week, Planters released a Super Bowl ad that depicts 104-year-old Mr. Peanut sacrificing himself during an action sequence so his friends could live to see another day. Brands such as Reese’s, Mr. Clean, Snickers and Oreo have paid tribute to Mr. Peanut.
However, after Bryant’s death on Sunday, Twitter users complained that the campaign, as well as the hashtag #RIPeanut, was insensitive.
This story was updated on January 27 with additional comment from ICF Next clarifying the parts of the campaign that have been paused.