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Super Bowl Ad Watch: Wonderful Pistachios Gets Crackin' With Psy

Posted by Dale Buss on January 9, 2013 03:31 PM

Wonderful Pistachios announced today today that it plans to make its first appearance during the Super Bowl, befitting its rapidly rising status as a snack brand to challenge even the granddaddy of the business, Frito-Lay, and its Doritos brand that often dominates Super Bowl advertising with its Crash the Super Bowl fan-created ad campaign.

"We're thrilled at being able to bring consumers a healthy alternative that tastes good and is as fun as any other big brand they might enjoy during the Super Bowl," Marc Seguin, chief marketing officer of the Wonderful Pistachios brand — a corporate sibling to Pom Wonderful — told brandchannel. "We have a product that's unique, and just as fun [as Frito-Lay's], but also really healthy."

Wonderful's Super Bowl ad will continue its marketing theme of "Get Crackin'" that has featured unexpected spokespeople including Rod Blagojevich, the then-discredited and now imprisoned former governor of Illinois, "but with a new twist," Seguin said. "We'll definitely take it up a notch for the Super Bowl." 

That "twist" will feature the stylings of South Korean rapper Psy of "Gangnam Style" fame, whose music video has notched a record-breaking billion views on YouTube. Psy will wear a pistachio-green suit in the ad and show a special way to crack open pistachios, in keeping with the Get Crackin' campaign theme.

Seguin originally thought that the California-based brand would use the nut brand's typical bookending of two 15-second spots rather than a more conventional 30-second format, even in the Super Bowl. But the creative execution of the ad and Psy's infectious dancing has prompted a change in plans.

"The ad is so visual and dynamic from an action standpoint that we felt you couldn't capture it all, start and stop in 15 seconds and then start and stop it again in 15 seconds in a way that lent itself to the true potential of the ad," Seguin explained. Grammy award-winning music-video director Mathew Cullen was in charge, "and he advised us that this was the way to go. Based on what we saw, he was absolutely right."

The Psy spot will run during the third quarter, Seguin said. "We didn't want to wait too long in the game in case it's a blow-out," he said. "Even if it's a one-sided affair, viewership typically doesn't drop off until after the third quarter."

Seguin said Wonderful had been kicking around the idea of featuring Psy "for about four months" since his Gangnam act surged in worldwide interest. He wasn't available for the shoot until this week, which is cutting things close for such an important campaign. "We weren't too worried about" timing of the shoot, Seguin insisted. "Maybe we would have been in a few more days."

In any event, the fact that Wonderful is climbing onto the Super Bowl stage at all is a testament to the brand's recent growth. Clearly, brand owner Paramount Farms and hard-charging owners Lynda and Stewart Resnick know how to build a brand and create growth and buzz around it, as they're still doing with Pom Wonderful.

Wonderful Pistachios has quickly become a breakout brand in the U.S., commanding the No. 1 spot among snack nuts and threatening Frito-Lay's stranglehold on the top spots in the entire snack category. Wonderful likely exceeded $400 million in annual sales in 2012, industry figures show, and now it is threatening to break into the top-ten-selling SKUs in the entire $10- to $12-billion salty-snacks business.

So, Psy only needs to set the table for Wonderful and prove a worthy competitor to Doritos during the Big Game. American consumers are likely to get crackin' and do the rest themselves.

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