Mr. Peanut's death, which garnered a lot of attention on social media last week, was directly inspired by Tony Stark's ultimate sacrifice at the end of Avengers: Endgame. So we have Iron Man to thank for this strange Super Bowl commercial. Though right now, it sounds unlikely that we'll get to see the conclusion of this viral advertising play out this Sunday. For now, Planters has pushed pause on the campaign in light of Kobe Bryant's recent death in a tragic helicopter accident that claimed the lives of 8 other people as well.
Mr. Peanut has officially been killed off in the name of the Super Bowl, with an early commercial showing his demise. A funeral was planned for the actual big game itself. Many were shocked to see Planters kill off their beloved mascot. And it gained a lot of attention heading into this Sunday's sporting event. But then Kobe Bryant died this past weekend. And the idea of having a funeral for a fictional Peanut mascot didn't seem so funny anymore. The whole Super Bowl campaign has been put on indefinite pause for the moment. But Planters did reveal why they went ahead with killing off Mr. Peanut.
Basically, they though it was a good idea at the time. And it all ties into the immense success of this past summer's blockbuster hit Avengers: Endgame, which now sits as the highest grossing movie in the world. It also plays into the phenomenon of social media having a weird fascination with fictional character deaths.
VaynerMedia produced the ads for Kraft Heinz's Planters, which features iconic actor Wesley Snipes and comedian Matt Walsh alongside mascot Mr. Peanut. The plan was to show the death spot before the Super Bowl, with Mr. Peanut's funeral to air in the 3rd quarter of the Big Game. That idea is currently on pause, but that could change over the next few days. Mike Pierantozzi, Group Creative Director at Planters' agency VaynerMedia, had this to say about creating the marketing campaign, and trying to top what they did during last year's Super Bowl.
"We started talking about how the internet treats when someone dies - specifically, we were thinking about fictional characters, [like when] Iron Man died...When Iron Man died, we saw an incredible reaction on Twitter and on social media. It's such a strange phenomenon. What would happen and how would the world react if [Mr. Peanut] passed away? We did the unthinkable: we created a program and an idea where Mr. Peanut dies, and dies specifically sacrificing himself for his friends, which has always been a tenet of who he is and what he does - he always puts others first."
Samantha Hess, Planters Brand Manager at Kraft Heinz, had released an official statement to the public when the Super Bowl spot first aired that confirmed Mr. Peanut was indeed dead.
"It's with heavy hearts that we confirm Mr. Peanut has passed away at 104 years old. He will be remembered as the legume who always brought people together for nutty adventures and a good time. We encourage fans to tune in to Mr. Peanut's funeral during the third quarter of the Super Bowl to celebrate his life."
Pierantozzi noted that the commercial campaign featuring the timely death of Mr. Peanut had to be humorous in tone, and that Planters never intended to take the spot too seriously, "You have to strike the perfect tone on this, or you really could end up with a problem." Since the spot went viral, Mr. Peanut's social media accounts have been changed to 'The Estate of Mr. Peanut'. And the Tweet had other big brands jumping into the mix to acknowledge their colleague's demise.
As for what was expected to be shown in the actual Super Bowl commercial tied to all of this, Pierantozzi offered, "There will be a funeral, and an opportunity for hundreds of millions of people who love Mr. Peanut to pay their respects." The interview from MSN was conducted before the death of Kobe Bryant and the hault of the Mr. Peanut campaign. We'll have to wait and see what will eventually happen with Mr. Peanut's funeral, which is shot and completed and now sitting on a shelve awaiting its turn on the small screen.
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 #RIPeanutpic.twitter.com/VFnEFod4Zp— The Estate of Mr. Peanut (@MrPeanut) January 22, 2020