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Trying to Crack New Customers, Fisher Nuts Puts All Its TV Money in Scripps

Food Network Chef Hawks 'Recipe Nuts'

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When it comes to TV advertising, a small maker of nuts is putting all its eggs in one basket.

Instead of spraying ads up and down the set-top box, Fisher Nuts is focusing its TV-ad spend on Scripps' Food Network and Cooking Channel, hoping that an alliance with one of the outlet's food personalities will drive its message home.

Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli

As part of the pact, Fisher Nuts has entered into a partnership with Food Network's Alex Guarnaschelli, a regular judge on "Chopped." Ms. Guarnaschelli, who is executive chef at New York restaurants Butter and The Darby, is sharing a variety of Fisher Nuts-inspired recipes and offering consumers tips for a "fresh twist" on everyday recipes throughout the year during ad breaks on both of the media company's food-focused cable networks.

"Historically, we did a lot of in-store marketing, communications at the point of purchase" and newspaper coupon inserts, said Howard Brandeisky, VP-global marketing and customer solutions at John B. Sanfilippo & Son, which owns the Fisher Nuts brand. "This is clearly a greatly expanded campaign."

Mr. Brandeisky declined to say how much money Fisher was devoting to TV.

The ad effort highlights an emerging truism in modern advertising. While "spray-and-pray" techniques likely get a marketer's ads in front of the broadest audience possible, deeper deals with one media outlet may work well if the product in question has strong relevance to a specific audience, such as food aficionados. Concentrating ad outlays may also encourage the winning media outlets to do more for the business.

In this case Scripps will also run Fisher Nuts video vignettes on its networks, print ads in Food Network magazine, digital ads on various Scripps properties and social-media initiatives supporting the campaign. Scripps even helped broker the one-year deal between Ms. Guarnaschelli and Fisher, which had to be put together separately, said Sherri Rosenberg, director-media at Blue Chip Marketing, an independent agency that is working with Fisher on the campaign.

Fisher's main goal is to highlight use of its "recipe nuts" -- primarily walnuts and pecans -- used in cooking rather than as snacks. Mr. Brandeisky said Fisher falls well behind California's Diamond Nuts in the category, which he estimates brings in between $500 million and $600 million in sales. Keeping the ads within the Scripps food-media empire may bring them to the attention of a more likely consumer than running the ads on broader networks like ABC, TNT or FX.

"It's the opportunity to basically take a whole, entire budget and leverage it as best we can by singling out one property that has so many extensions," said Blue Chip's Ms. Rosenberg.

Fisher is also hoping the appearance of its baking nuts in Ms. Guarnaschelli's hands will spark some efforts by food retailers, who can assign its products more or less space on store shelves and use signs and other methods to draw consumer attention to them.

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