Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Death Has Effect on 2020 Super Bowl Ads

The death of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash has permeated all areas of culture, including advertising. Super Bowl advertisers have spent the week considering if their ads could, in any way, appear insensitive in the wake of the crash that killed the NBA legend, his daughter and others.

Planters Peanuts Super Bowl planned campaign, killed off its spokescharacter Mr. Peanut. had plans to air a commercial featuring Mr. Peanut’s funeral during the game. 

Genesis removed an image of a stationary helicopter from its’ opening two seconds, as Chrissy Teigen and John Legend scoff at images of “old luxury.”

Similarly, Hard Rock removed a scene from its Super Bowl ad that included another basketball legend, Kareem Abdul Jabar. “Hard Rock is incredibly saddened by the news from this past weekend and sends deepest condolences to all those affected by this immense tragedy,” the company said in a statement. “Given the news, we immediately made the decision to remove scenes including Kareem Abdul Jabbar that could be considered insensitive.

General Motors Super Bowl commercial stars LeBron James. The automaker had planned to release the full ad this week, but opted to hold off in the wake of Bryant’s death. James was close to Bryant and considered him a brother. In an Instagram post following the news of Bryant’s death Sunday, LeBron wrote that he was “heartbroken and devastated.” “Out of respect for this week’s news and all those involved, we are holding the full ad until game day,” a General Motors’ spokeswoman told Ad Age.

Toyota also edited its Super Bowl commercial, while the automaker declined to say exactly what needed to be cut, they are removing a scene that could have appeared to be insensitive.

There will also be a tribute to Bryant during the game. Halftime performers Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will remember the NBA icon, the AP reports.

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