Campaign of the Week

13 February 2024

Jif serves up its spread as the perfect partner to oft-neglected celery in the hope of becoming a dip of choice during the Super Bowl 

The peanut butter brand launched a campaign that offers up its spread as the celery-enhancer

If you order chicken wings in the US, it’s quite likely that the meal with be served with a side of celery stalks. However, according to US peanut butter brand Jif (owned by The JM Smucker Company), only 14% of people prefer the accompanying celery as a side dish over French fries – resulting in a lot of the vegetables being wasted.

In an effort to #SaveTheCelery during this year’s Super Bowl, an event where chicken wings are a popular snack choice, Jif has launched a campaign that offers up its spread as the perfect taste enhancer to the crudité.

The campaign launched on January 29 with an ad that stirringly showcases the sad treatment of celery, building to the magic moment of a jar of Jif Peanut Butter rolling up to a man at a Super Bowl party, and his bright idea to polish it off with some leftover celery.

The integrated campaign was created by Publicis Groupe agency PSOne (which exclusively works with Jif’s parent brand JM Smucker Company) and agency BBH USA.

Outside of the main campaign ad, which is playing on TV and on social, Jif has also created a series of influencer partnerships to spread the word of #SaveTheCelery. Two sports podcasts, Barstool Sports Pardon My Take and The Bill Simmons Podcast will both feature episodes with live ad reads talking about the campaign.

Jif also partnered with the popular YouTube interview series Hot Ones where celebrities eat increasingly spicy chicken wings. For the upcoming episode featuring Spice Adams, the former NFL defensive tackle will play Truth or Dab where he can answer the host’s tough question or instead eat a mega-spicy wing and Jif-covered celery sticks.

On Super Bowl Sunday, Jif will be partnering with delivery Gopuff where consumers can order jars of Jif for free and will arrive in 60 minutes or less – while stocks last. Meanwhile, in the on-trade, selected bars in New York will receive #SaveTheCelery merchandise and branded packaging in the form of coasters, stickers and wing liners – each containing a QR code to the brand’s campaign website. Partnered bars will also give out free Jif To Go samples for use on take-out chicken wings for people’s Super Bowl parties.

Contagious Insight 

Interception tactics / Jif’s #SaveTheCelery campaign is great opportunity for the brand to encourage sales of the spread during a lucrative consumption occasion in which it doesn’t have an obvious role to play. According to 2024 research by the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $17.3bn on the Super Bowl, with 80% of that figure being just on food and beverages. Competition is fierce among FMCG and snack brands vying for their share of that household spend.

Unfortunately for Jif, peanut butter is not a food product that’s typically associated with the Super Bowl – potato chips, chicken wings and confectionery are the go-tos. The Chicken Council 2024 wing report estimates that 1.45 billion chicken wings will be eaten across the Super Bowl worth a total $1.25bn. Rather than implore people to buy its peanut butter for the Big Game, Jif has instead created a role for its spread during the occasion, positioning itself next to one of the most popular snack choices for the event (while also solving a tension point by creating a tasty snack out of something that would otherwise be discarded).

In the campaign’s press release, Peter Defries, group creative director at BBH USA, said: ‘Jif wanted to hack the biggest dip day of the year with a dip you never see at the party – peanut butter. And once we realised we had the perfect way in with discarded celery, it was a no-brainer.’ Christine Hoffman, senior director of integrated consumer experience at The JM Smucker Company added: ‘Every host of a Big Game party knows the sad fate that awaits their celery. But the simple addition of Jif Peanut Butter transforms celery from castaway to an irresistibly crunchy snack.’

If you’d like to read more about some of the best Super Bowl campaigns of the last few years, check out our handy collection here.

Spread the word / The PR-ability of Jif’s #SaveTheCelery campaign is also commendable, with the brand partnering with several entertaining and relevant creative voices to help spread the word.

In the past Jif and Publicis Groupe have shown a knack for getting people talking about its spread in culture, such as in 2020 when the brand capitalised on the long-running internet debate about the pronunciation of the looping silent video format gifs. The #JifvsGif campaign reignited the debate around whether it was pronounced with a hard or soft ‘G’, with Jif’s peanut butter smack dab in the centre of the fun uproar.

In 2023, Jif tapped into the culture of mumble rap to leverage the humorous insight that all modern rappers sound like they’re speaking with peanut butter in their mouths. The Lil Jif Project campaign featured a new TikTok challenge encouraging people to sing with Jif peanut butter in their mouths. Across Jif’s work over the last few years, the brand has demonstrated how an FMCG brand can create fun participative work that helps the company reach younger audiences.

Trial of the season / Jif’s #SaveTheCelery is a brilliant integrated campaign that encourages new trailing opportunities across most of its touchpoints. From the bar partnership with free-to-go trail sachets to the Gopuff partnership offering consumers a free jar of peanut butter in under 60 minutes – Jif has created an abundance of tactical opportunities for people to save their celery. Check out Contagious’ best of sampling campaigns in our collection here.

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