Stewart and Lynda Resnick own the Wonderful Pistachio brand. The Resnick’s own the Wonderful umbrella company with a focus on healthy food products. The company also owns the POM Wonderful and Figi Water brands. The Wonderful pistachio company began in 1989 as Paramount Farms Pistachios and Almonds, which was later re-branded in 2007 as Wonderful Pistachios and sold in Safeway stores (Wonderful.com). Wonderful Pistachios is the fastest growing snack brand in America today. The Wonderful umbrella re-brand draws attention to the company’s focus on healthy products and the philanthropy of the Resnick’s in the community (Harkinson). The privately held company employs 7,800 people and is the second largest produce company in the United States with a worth of over 4 billion dollars (BusinessWire). The Wonderful Company is well known for corporate philanthropy and won the United States Chamber Foundation Corporate Citizenship Award in 2016 for the work the company did in the community of Lost Hills, California (BusinessWire).
Wonderful Pistachios is known for the “Get Crackin’ ” adverting spots which launched in 2009. The 2014 Superbowl featured Stephen Colbert in a popular “Get Crackin'” advertisement:
The Wonderful company includes an in-house advertising agency which created the Colbert spot as well as advertisements featuring Dennis Rodman, the Korean rapper Psy, Snooki, and the YouTube sensation “Honey Badger” among others (VanderMay). Another campaign featured the animated “Ernie the Elephant” voiced by John Cena. The full in-house agency also manages the other Wonderful Brands such as Wonderful Halos, POM Wonderful, Figi Water, Landmark and JUSTIN wines, and Teleflora flowers (Wonderful.com).
Lynda Resnick started her own advertising company when she was 19 years old and is considered a branding genius (Harkinson). Gloria Steinem wrote that “Lynda Resnick is to branding what Warren Buffet is to investing” (Harkinson). The Wonderful company hired longtime advertising veteran Darren Moran to be their Chief Creative Officer in April of 2017. The press release from the company states, “Darren is an incredible talent who, over the past 26 years, has earned his reputation as one of the best creative minds in the ad industry, and his innumerable talents will be put to good use as he helps us craft innovative, effective campaigns for our high-quality, healthy brands” (Wonderful.com).
A television spot featuring NFL star Richard Sherman.
The current 55 million dollar Wonderful Pistachios advertising campaign is directed towards NFL fans and is called “Put a Smile on Your Snack Face.” The campaign features NFL stars Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks and Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers. The Television spots air during NFL games and features chronic losers in a humorous deadpan manner (Oster). The NFL stars describe the loser characters horrible luck in life with lines such as “His third wife ran off with his second wife” while the character happily snacks on Wonderful Pistachios. Moran utilized a “plug and play” concept by picking the NFL stars and building the campaign around them. Moran estimates a that nearly one-third of the lines delivered by Sherman and Matthews were written on set. The campaign has focused heavily on television for the ad campaign but has utilized social media to broaden the reach of the campaign. The social media has been using the #snackface hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The televised spots are featured on the Wonderful Pistachios YouTube page.
The goal of the campaign is to use humor to bring attention to the Wonderful Pistachio brand as the healthy snack alternative for NFL fans.
Clay Matthews is featured in a post from September 21st emphasizing the healthy snack aspect of the Wonderful Pistachio #snackface campaign. The ads aim to entertain instead of just plainly describe the health benefits of eating the product.
The campaign was originally meant to be exclusively digital, but the Wonderful Company liked the concept so much they decided to integrate the marketing campaign by making a large NFL television ad buy (Oster). The “Put a Smile on Your Snackface” campaign kicked off with the NFL season on September 10th when Sherman’s Seahawks played against Matthews Packers. The #snackface campaign will run throughout the NFL season and is planned to be part of a larger campaign that includes the return of “Ernie the Elephant” and John Cena (Oster). The #snackface social media mix started out slowly; digital ads were posted on an average of twice a week on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The Wonderful Pistachio YouTube channel was the exception, as Wonderful published the television advertisements on YouTube the day of the launch on September 10th. The pace of the digital ads has not increased much over the course of the NFL season, but the campaign seems to have increased their social media activity in November. The marketing plan may have been to push the television spots and then focus on social media as the campaign progressed.
Wonderful Pistachios (@wonderfulpistachios) has the largest social media following on Facebook with 814,945 followers and 838,971-page likes. The Wonderful company did not fully utilize the following during the first month of the campaign that I was tracking. In the first month, the Wonderful company made a total of 6 Facebook posts with limited engagement from followers. The first post was made on September 11th and featured an abbreviated version of the NFL television spot. The post has received 1,600 views to date.
Not all reactions to the advertisements were positive. Some viewers took offense to the fact the brand was mocking the unfortunate circumstances of the chronic losers. In one spot, the NFL star Clay Matthews describes the loser character “Dale” with the line, “his orphanage left him on the doorstep of another less-accredited orphanage” in the video below.
A protest petition began on Change.org asking The Wonderful Company to remove the advertisement. 311 signed the petition. Steve Bram Wonderful Company Public Relations replied to Ginger Newingham who is the author of the change.org petition and agreed to remove the offending advertisement (Change.org).
Hi Ginger –
On behalf of Wonderful Pistachios, we wanted to update you on our latest commercial to share with you and your readers. Our intent was solely to amuse, not to offend. We have already pulled the commercial until we can replace that portion. We apologize for this misstep and sincerely hope that all our customers will continue to enjoy Wonderful Pistachios now and in the future.
— Steve Bram (Public Relations for The Wonderful Company)
The Wonderful Company campaign also came under some fire with the political issues facing the NFL and the protests against police brutality during the national anthem. The people who are boycotting the NFL over the hot-button issue are also calling for the boycott of NFL sponsors.
The Wonderful Company made a total of 6 Facebook posts during the first month of the campaign. The most viewed post received 2.6K views on September 17th at the time I collected the data.
Wonderful Pistachios joined Twitter in 2009 with the Twitter handle @getcrakin and has 41.4K followers on Twitter. The Wonderful Company made a total of 6 posts in the month of the campaign. Many of the posts were simultaneously cross-posted to Facebook like the post below from September 17th.
The Twitter campaign experienced less engagement than the Facebook campaign with fewer likes, comments, or shares/retweets. I counted a total of 35 likes across the six posts during the first four weeks of the Twitter campaign with a total of 5 replies to the tweets. The replies were largely negative with customers responding by posting #NFLBoycott or posting quality control issues like the tweet below.
The Wonderful Pistachio Instagram account (getcrackin) has a meager 3,975 followers. The account only has 199 total which included the five postings I counted the first month of the campaign. The media is cross-posted from both Facebook and Twitter, but the company clearly has less of a focus on Instagram than the other the social networks utilized in this campaign. The Instagram account had a much smaller following than Twitter or Facebook accounts but earned more engagement with the Instagram posts than the Twitter account with 28 comments and 125 likes of the non-video media posts during the first month of the campaign.
The Wonderful Pistachios YouTube account has 14,072 subscribers and posted ten videos of the commercial spots during the first month of the campaign. The videos were all posted on Sunday, September 10th to coincide with the opening Sunday of NFL Football. The commercials have a high level of views and engagement on the YouTube channel. The highest viewed video (The “Jim” spot with Sherman from above) had over 1 million views, 89 likes and 15 comments which were overwhelmingly positive.
This extended thirty-second commercial “Kate” and starring Richard Sherman experienced 512,741 views to date and 45 likes:
Wonderful Pistachios YouTube channel removed the offensive “Dale” advertisement from the channel. The commercials played well with the YouTube audience resulting in the highest level of engagement on all the platforms the company targeted. Facebook had the second highest amount of engagement but had a larger following prior to the campaign. The YouTube channel had a higher “return on impressions” advantage due to the primary focus of the campaign on the NFL ad buys. YouTube also allowed the audience to seek out the humorous spots (Tuten and Solomon 302).
Planters Nuts is promoting its Planters NUTmobile tour promotion (@NUTmobile_Tour) on social media during the fall season. The NUTmobile campaign has been more engaging on social media due to the frequency of the posts and the level of engagement by fans posting on social media about various locations they see the NUTmobile Tour.
The Wonderful Pistachios brand following appears to be larger across social media platforms than the Planters brand, but Planters is utilizing social media more often than the current Wonderful Pistachio campaign. Wonderful Pistachios competitor seems to be performing better in social media interaction metrics despite the Wonderful Pistachios NFL audience exposure.
Frito Lay is the biggest salty snack competitor for Wonderful Pistachios as the Wonderful campaign seems focused on prying potential NFL snackers from the junk for snacks and promoting their product as the healthier alternative. Frito Lay and parent company PepsiCo are creative with their interactive social media campaigns, including the Snapchat campaign that ran until October 7th but will be brought back for the NFL Playoffs;
“Potential participants can partake by Snapchatting an on-product code present on specifically marked Frito-Lay products and 20 oz. bottles and 15-pack 7.5 oz. mini-cans of Pepsi. They will then be assigned a random NFL team — if that team wins its upcoming game, the participant wins an award and his or her entry will be entered into a weekly drawing for prizes that includes season tickets and Super Bowl LII tickets” (Yang).
This social media campaign is a much better way to not only interact and engage with the social media user but also is an easy way to measure return metrics of the campaign.
The Wonderful Pistachio NFL advertisements reach a large television audience, and the commercials seem to be well received despite the tone-deaf advertisement that Wonderful removed due to public complaints. The YouTube views show that the audience is aware of the spots and seek them out because of the memorable deadpan humor. The campaign seems to be using the television spots as the main source of the campaign and using social media on occasion to interact with the audience and support the television campaign.
The Wonderful Pistachio Brand has a large following on Facebook of nearly 900,000 people and a respectable amount on Twitter but is not fully interacting with the target audience on those social media platforms. The Wonderful Pistachios Instagram account is extremely underutilized. The Interaction Metrics, which are made up of the variety of ways users can interact with and participate in the brand’s campaign is severely lacking because Wonderful Pistachios has not yet committed to an established social media strategy (Tuten and Solomon 300). The campaign needs to focus on more interaction with their social media audience with the campaign and either re-focus on establishing the #snackface hashtag or create a new one. The latest posts from the campaign have completely lacked the #snackface hashtag. The social media campaign is sporadic, unfocused, and uninspiring.
The television advertisements lack the #snackface hashtag the company has been using across social media platforms. The lack of the #snackface hashtag is confusing because it would bring more awareness to the NFL television audience of the brand’s social media content and could make the audience more likely to interact with the brand on social media by making their own #snackface posts in response to the campaign. The Wonderful Pistachio brand is missing this potentially important interaction opportunity. The Wonderful Pistachio company needs to refocus the social media campaign to fully capitalize on the televised NFL spots and interact with the target audience.
The NFL is caught in the middle of a country-wide political debate about the right to protest and respecting the national anthem. Many people, including the President of the United States, are upset with the protests and are calling for the boycott of the NFL games. The Wonderful Pistachio social media campaign feedback included customer calls for boycotts because of the association with the NFL. This issue is completely outside of The Wonderful Company control but is a risk when you buy advertising on for a specific audience such as the NFL. Papa John’s Pizza recently pulled their “official sponsorship” of the NFL because they claim the controversy surrounding the protests is directly hurting Papa John’s sales. The CEO of the company John Schnatter is quoted as saying,
“The NFL has been a long and valued partner over the years. But we’re certainly disappointed that the NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties long ago. This should’ve been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago” (Meyer).
In contrast, Pizza Hut claims their sales have “Not seeing any impact” regarding the NFL player protests. John Schnatter could be attempting to apply pressure on the NFL to take action on the protests due to his personal beliefs. The Wonderful Company has not commented on the protests hurting sales, but it could be a concern going forward because Wonderful cannot control what happens with the NFL and the players. If continuing to advertise during the NFL games with commercials featuring NFL stars begins to be seen as choosing sides of a hot-button issue it could be an issue for the campaign going forward.
The Wonderful Pistachio NFL advertising campaign is unique, memorable and amusing. The Wonderful Company produced strong television advertisements that the audience remembers and has a reaction to. The critical issue is the lack of social media network marketing that is involved. Wonderful Pistachios did not fully utilize or integrate the social media platforms into its advertising campaign, which is quite surprising since the Wonderful Company claims the campaign was to be originally designed to be completely digital. Wonderful Pistachios has a large opportunity on Facebook with the large number of page followers it currently has. The likes and shares it could receive by posting more frequently and substantively on the social media network would greatly increase the campaigns social media interaction metrics.
The Twitter and Instagram accounts are smaller, but the Wonderful company missed opportunities by not posting enough material. What Wonderful did post to these social media networks was often simply cross-posted among all three networks.
The NFL advertisements need to include the #snackface hashtag to invite engagement on social media. The #snackface hashtag never really got momentum, and now it seems to have been possibly abandoned by the campaign, but the NFL television buys were the most expensive and provide the most exposure for the audience to recognize and later engage with the #snackface hashtag on social media networks.
The creative NFL television ads were well made and will likely be considered a success for the company despite the hiccups and the political issues involving the NFL, but the lack of substance on the social media side is where the company should now turn its attention. I feel there were missed opportunities with the campaign in that regard. The Wonderful Company may be waiting for the “Ernie the Elephant” tie-in that is planned for the campaign, but the $55 Million advertising campaign needs to have a larger presence on social media networks.
“Building Healthy Brands from the Ground Up.” The Wonderful Company :: Who We Are, http://www.wonderful.com/who-we-are.html.
Harkinson, Josh. “Meet the California Couple Who Uses More Water than Every Home in Los Angeles Combined.” Mother Jones, 23 June 2017, http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/08/lynda-stewart-resnick-california-water/.
Meyer, Zlati. “Papa John’s CEO Blames NFL for Declining Sales Due to Mishandling of Anthem Protests.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 1 Nov. 2017, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/food/2017/11/01/papa-johns-ceo-blames-nfl-declining-sales-due-mishandling-anthem-protests/821368001/
ErikDOster. “Wonderful Pistachios and NFL Stars Get Delightfully Deadpan in New Ads About Chronic Losers.” – Adweek, Adweek, 1 Sept. 2017, http://www.adweek.com/creativity/wonderful-pistachios-and-nfl-stars-get-delightfully-deadpan-in-new-ads-about-chronic-losers/.
“Sign the Petition.” Change.org, http://www.change.org/p/wonderful-pistachios-removal-of-wonderful-pistachios-offensive-ad.
Tuten, Tracy L., and Michael R. Solomon. Social Media Marketing. Sage, 2015.
VanderMey, Anne. “The Branding Wizards behind the Stephen Colbert Super Bowl Ads.”Fortune, Fortune, 3 Feb. 2014, fortune.com/2014/02/03/the-branding-wizards-behind-the-stephen-colbert-super-bowl-ads/.
“Wonderful Press Info.” The Wonderful Company :: WONDERFUL AGENCY TAPS 26-YEAR ADVERTISING VETERAN DARREN MORAN AS CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, http://www.wonderful.com/press/WONDERFUL-AGENCY-TAPS-26-YEAR-ADVERTISING-VETERAN-DARREN-MORAN-AS-CHIEF-CREATIVE-OFFICER.html.
“The Wonderful Company Wins Prestigious U.S. Chamber Foundation Corporate Citizenship Award.” Business Wire, 22 Nov. 2016, http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161122006024/en/Wonderful-Company-Wins-Prestigious-U.S.-Chamber-Foundation.
Yang, Avery. “Score Super Bowl Tickets by Using the Snapchat App on PepsiCo Products.”SportTechie, 28 Aug. 2017, http://www.sporttechie.com/pepsi-is-launching-a-snapchat-based-nfl-promotion/.