Rewind: Remembering Annette Funicello-and Her Skippy Ads

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While she is being memorialized as an original "Mickey Mouse Club," member and beach party movie star, Annette Funicello also made quite a mark in advertising as a longtime pitchwoman for Skippy.

Ms. Funicello, who died Monday at the age of 70, appeared in numerous TV ads for the peanut butter brand in the 1970s and 1980s in memorable spots in which she told viewers that "It's hard to beat Skippy."

In one ad, Ms. Funicello takes on all comers at a ski lodge, shooting down mothers who suggest that competing lunch options such as salami, sloppy Joes and egg salad were more nutritious. "Sorry, ounce for ounce, Skippy has more protein," she says.

Wardrobes aside, the ads still seem relevant, considering the premium consumers are putting on protein these days, which has fueled trends like the Greek yogurt craze. In another vintage spot, she tells a young boy that Skippy has more protein than a "hot dog, chicken salad, even liverwurst." Okay, so you aren't likely to see many liverwurst comparison ads these days. But the "no cholesterol" line still zings.

Unfortunately for Skippy, the brand of late has lost ground to J.M. Smucker Co.'s Jif. In the U.S., Jif controls 37% of the nut-and-seed-based spread category, while Skippy is a distant second at 16.5%, followed by ConAgra's Peter Pan at 11.7%, according to Euromonitor International.

The brand, which was recently acquired by Hormel Foods Corp., is seeking a comeback under BBDO Proximity, which won the account in February.

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