In a 30-second teaser for Planters’ upcoming Super Bowl ad released on Jan. 21, the brand’s beloved nutty character, Mr. Peanut, is involved in a car accident and dies to save his costars Matt Walsh and Wesley Snipes.
Following the tragic deaths of the NBA legend, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, Jan. 26, the company halted all of its campaign activities surrounding the death of the fictional character, PEOPLE confirms.
As of Monday, Planters wasn’t sure how it would proceed with its marketing strategy leading up to and during the Super Bowl, a representative for the company tells PEOPLE. The teaser had been set to air as a Super Bowl pregame spot, while part two of the campaign, a 30-second spot surrounding the spokesnut’s “funeral,” was set to run during the third quarter.
The representative for the company also apologized for a press mailer containing “prayer candles” for Mr. Peanut, which was sent out prior to the accident.
“We deeply regret any offense or upset caused by this coincidental timing,” they said in a statement. “We wanted you to know that 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.”
The brand’s marketing plan was widely praised, as Planters’ social media outreach — which utilized the hashtag #RIPeanut — received countless condolences from both fans and brands ranging from Chips Ahoy to Oscar Mayer. Even Saturday Night Live spoofed the Mr. Peanut’s death in one of their Jan. 25 skits.
In the “Road Trip” ad, the trio is seen enjoying an epic ride through the mountains when Mr. Peanut has to suddenly swerve out of the way to avoid hitting an armadillo. In the process, the nut loses control of the NUTmobile sending all passengers over the cliff’s edge. Mr. Peanut saves Walsh and Snipes from falling to the pit below by sacrificing himself so they can live.
WATCH: Kobe Bryant Dies in Calabasas Helicopter Crash at 41
According to ESPN, Bryant, 41, was reportedly heading in his private helicopter to a travel basketball game for Gianna, nicknamed Gigi, when it went down. Emergency personnel responded but none of the nine people onboard survived, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said during a press conference.
The others on the plane have been named as pilot Ara Zobayan, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester, girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, head baseball coach at Orange Coast College John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli.
Alyssa was a teammate of Gianna’s. John, 56, and Keri are also parents to daughter Alexis Altobelli and son J.J. Altobelli, who works as a scout for the Red Sox.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and their daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.