Jigsaw LLC


The nuttiness of brand marketing

— Branding & Marketing —

Awhile back I was chatting with my sister and brother-in-law about the current Get Crackin’ ad campaign for pistachios – which is cute. Hopefully you’ve seen it – but for this discussion it’s not really critical that you watch it before we go further. I commented that I thought it was pretty cool, and a bit unusual, that a nut would advertise. Seems a rather unusual client, no? (“Ohh, I can’t wait to land the Pistachios account!?”)

But, when we gave it more than a second’s worth of thought, we realized that advertising for an entire segment of an industry (across all brands) isn’t all that unique. There are quite a few other products that do this –

Milk via the California Milk Producers Board

Orange Juice via the Florida Department of Citrus growers

and Potatoes via Idaho® Potatoes

And while these advertisers do want consumers to choose the product grown in their state – they don’t specify a brand name. These products are marketed under many, many brand names and the campaign benefits them all.

There was only one campaign that I could think of that didn’t even specify where the product was produced – it was the one for high fructose corn syrup.  It was produced by The Corn Refiners Association. (I do feel responsible to advise other moms that this campaign did NOT stop the dirty looks when I brought the gallon of Blue Razz drinkaid to the daycare picnic. Ugh! I hope no one else fell for that!)

Like the corn refiners, I thought I was going to be able to add the pistachios growers to the short list of advertisers that create campaigns for their industry as a whole…

But wait. Hold up. It wasn’t until I began researching this blog post did I realize that the pistachio commercials are actually FOR A BRAND.  Did you all know this?? It is the Wonderful® brand. Wonderful® pistachios.  I thought they just meant they were wonderful! As in, tasty or healthy or engaging (you know, the way you have to work with your hands to produce the meat part…). But no. They actually mean pick our pistachios, not just any pistachios. I’m sorry Wonderful®, I’m sure you are indeed lovely, but I totally missed that whole thing about your brand name.

So that changes everything – and I can’t resist taking a momentary excursion to explore a different question:

Is it smart to go to market with a brand name that is also an adjective like that?

Not surprisingly, I have a story to spur this debate…

Awhile back on Living Social there was a coupon for Milwaukee’s Best Massage. After purchasing my own, I forwarded it to friends (hoping to get mine for free!). A girlfriend e-mailed me back asking what salon it was for. Reasonable question, right?  “Where can I get this best massage in Milwaukee?” Well, see, the name of the business is actually Milwaukee’s Best Massage. I agree, it’s a tad confusing, where there really need be no confusion. (And though I can’t be certain that it IS the best massage in Milwaukee, it certainly was delightful (as are pretty much all massages, actually). A little plug for Lay.

But back to the original topic of the nut campaign –

Even if I did not understand that Wonderful® was behind the pistachios campaign, does it matter that much to Wonderful® ? Perhaps Wonderful® is just fine with dramatically lifting the cool factor for ALL pistachios – and is confident that, via their well-executed television commercials as well as their well-coordinated distribution channels, that they will BE THERE and look right when we reach to the shelves for this otherwise-never-thought-of nut that suddenly has influence some in our lives.  That would be a pretty sweet place for any wonderful brand to be, don’t you think?

Posted by Jigsaw