In only the latest attempt to establish legumes in the minds of Americans as something as good as or even better than chips or pretzels, Wonderful Pistachios plans to use the game on Feb. 3 to advance a campaign using celebrities such as Snooki from "The Jersey Shore" and the Winkelvoss twins to pitch healthier snacking.
"The fact is most nuts are better for you than other salty snacks," said Marc Seguin, VP-marketing for Paramount Farms, the producer of Wonderful Pistachios. "The salty-snack category is $12 billion in the U.S, and most of it is not all that good for you."
The company, which is part of Roll Global, will run an ad featuring South Korean rapper Psy in the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII. Becoming the best-known snack nut in supermarkets isn't necessarily the goal, according to Mr. Seguin. Instead Paramount hopes to throw its pistachios in the face of Frito-Lay, the PepsiCo unit whose products typically dominate the list of best-selling snack products.
Sales of snack nuts totaled around $3.8 billion in the 52 weeks ending Nov. 18, 2012, according to data from IRI Symphony provided by Paramount Farms.
"We've been on a really great growth run for the last four years," Mr. Seguin said, after securing distribution in nearly every mass-market store possible. "We think we have a chance to be as successful as any of the big salty snacks."
And with that, Wonderful Pistachios joins the ranks of Super Bowl "nutvertisers," shall we say, marketers seeking a direct route onto the TV trays and snack bowls of a broad swath of viewers.
In recent years, nut vendors have actively infiltrated the Big Game. Diamond Foods has advertised its Emerald Nuts in distinctive ways in several Super Bowls. In 2005, the company ran a cerebral spot featuring a curly-haired girl and a unicorn. In the 2010 game, Diamond tried an unorthodox approach: using a single 30-second ad to tout both Emerald Nuts and Pop Secret popcorn.
Kraft Foods' Planters brand made its Super Bowl debut in 2008 with a spot in which men fall for a woman with a unibrow because, it is revealed, she uses Planters cashews as a fragrance.
The Super Bowl has long appealed to marketers seeking to position their foodstuffs as an alternative to the usual potato chips and Doritos. Last year, Dannon ran a spot for its Oikos Greek yogurt.
Paramount Farms decided last summer that it needed to run an ad in the Super Bowl to tout Wonderful Pistachios, Mr. Seguin said. Negotiations with CBS were completed in November and a contract with Psy was executed by December. The 30-second spot will be the longest ad ever put together for Wonderful Pistachios, he said; Since the start of the current campaign, all the ads have been 15 seconds in length.
Another Roll Global unit, Teleflora, will not appear in the Super Bowl after a series of ads there going back to 2009. A spokesman for Roll, Rob Six said the decision to appear or not appear in the Super Bowl is made by executives at each unit, depending on marketing plans, adding that Teleflora was moving its advertising in a new direction.