“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jill—no one can stop you if you have the will,” sings Normani. “So let’s root-root-root for the girl’s team/We’re adding our face to the game/And we’ll run, throw, never a doubt it’s a new ball game.”
Artist and model Monica Ahanonu designed the Cracker Jill characters, which emphasize strength and celebrate diversity by reflecting the most represented ethnicities in the U.S. based on Census data. “Monica has a great vibrant artistic ability, and is an expert in color theory and a trailblazer for Black artists,” Mahal said. “She brought these new characters to life with an eye on how to have the best representation of diverseness across the country.”
Campaign materials for the launch were led by women and underrepresented creatives, led by Creative Director Ro Haber, the noted transgender writer and director, the brand said.
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A video from the brand celebrates women and girl’s achievements in sports from the youth to the professional level, showing news clips of Heaven Fitch winning a North Carolina high school state wrestling championship and Rachel Balkovec being named manager of the Yankees’ Class A minor league team, the Tampa Tarpons.
The Cracker Jill campaign will be supported with earned and paid media and placement in social channels like YouTube. Normani will also support the launch on her social channels, Mahal said.
“I think as a brand what we’ve learned over the last few years is that we have a responsibility to the cultural associations that we associate with,” Mahal said. “We have been around while records are made and rules are changed. Rules changing is a massive reason why we decided that this was the right thing to do. We know that there's a big transformation is happening throughout sports—girls and women are changing the face of the game—and so we wanted as a brand that is associated with sports, to be part of that change and to represent that change.”
Consumers can receive Cracker Jill at a new website where a $5 donation will support the Women’s Sports Foundation. Frito-Lay is making a $200,000 contribution to the same organization, a national non-profit that conducts research and advocacy and supports community programming to help girls and women across the country reach their potential in sport and life.
“Our Foundation is an ally, advocate and catalyst to help unlock the possibilities in every girl and woman through the power of sport,” Danette Leighton, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundations, said in a press release. “Representation matters—it encourages and inspires the next generation. It’s wonderful to see Cracker Jill come to life, emphasizing the power that representation can have by celebrating women who’ve broken barriers.”