Super Bowl 2010

Diamond Foods' Super Bowl Plan: One Spot, Two Products

Marketer's 30-Second Plan Has Retail Appeal but Does It Dilute Its Message With Audience?

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NEW YORK ( -- In an unorthodox maneuver, Diamond Foods intends to use its ad time during Super Bowl XLIV to promote two different products -- its Pop-Secret popcorn and its Emerald Nuts -- in the same instance. To paraphrase a popular ad slogan, it's two -- two! -- two ads in one.

A still from Diamond Foods' Super Bowl ad promoting both its Pop-Secret popcorn and its Emerald Nuts.
A still from Diamond Foods' Super Bowl ad promoting both its Pop-Secret popcorn and its Emerald Nuts.
With only 30 seconds to make a strong marketing point to a large audience bound to be imbibing and watching the Super Bowl en masse, the snack-maker risks diluting its message. Yet one audience is likely to hear the marketer's message loud and clear: retailers.

Pop Secret has never made an appearance in the Super Bowl before, while Emerald Nuts appeared in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and -- at least in the Super Bowl environment -- established a quirky vision of itself, thanks to spots in the gridiron classic that featured unicorns, druids, even Santa Claus. Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners is the marketer's ad agency.

Given how much it costs to advertise in the Super Bowl -- CBS had been seeking between $2.5 million and $3 million for a 30-second spot before it sold out all available time -- one branding consultant sees the move as logical, albeit off-putting.

"I guess it was inevitable that someone would say, 'Can't we get a two-for-one here?'" said Scott Lerman, CEOof Lucid Brands, an Ossining, N.Y., marketing consultant. He joked: "Maybe we could fit in five and amortize the cost?"

Twice the impact at retail?
Now, that sounds a little silly. But Diamond Foods executives say there's some method behind what seems like madness: Retailers pay more attention to your products when they know there's a guarantee they will be promoted aggressively. And if retailers grant your product better positioning in the aisles because a promotion is coming, sales generally see a lift, said Michael Mendes, chairman, president and CEO of Diamond Foods.

Indeed, Emerald snack products' retail sales grew 36% in the week leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2006, compared with sales the prior week. And retail sales grew 22% during the four weeks ending Feb. 19, compared with the four-week period before.

Retailers have been willing to devote premium shelf space to the cause this year, said Andrew Burke, Diamond's chief marketing officer. The popcorn and nuts will be placed in a "whole host of different display options" including end-of-aisle presentations.

Twisting the standard one-ad-one-message plan on its head could reap some benefits. Although conventional wisdom holds that a single-minded message works best, said James Bell, a senior partner at branding-consultant Lippincott, Diamond's move could work well because both products appeal to a particular demographic and snackers are often willing to consider several different tastes when the stomach rumbles.

Others have used the two-in-one notion in more mainstream ad campaigns. Almond Joy and Mounds, two candy bars originally sold by Peter Paul Co., were placed together in a 1970s-era campaign that used the slogan, "Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't." (Almond Joy, the ad told us, had nuts, while Mounds don't.) And in 2000, Procter & Gamble partnered with T.G.I. Friday's restaurant chain to devise an oddball commercial that showed Friday's employees making use of P&G's Fit food wash. The result was an ad for both parties that may have presented a mixed message about each half of the whole.

As for its coming Super Bowl execution, Diamond is aiming for an overall concept that rides herd over its individual snack products. Mr. Burke said the ad will feature a dolphin trainer at a marine theme park, as well as the phrase "Awesome + Awesome = Awesomer."

The commercial "is all about the extravagant lengths that consumers go to for these two great snack products," said Mr. Burke. But it may also be about the unusual things marketers will do to push as many of their products as they can to potential customers being held nearly captive by the Super Bowl.

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