Planters is the latest brand to skip the Super Bowl to make a donation
The Super Bowl keeps looking more like the Charity Bowl.
Planters today became the latest latest big-name marketer to focus big money on big heartfelt efforts rather than the big game, following similar moves by Budweiser and Kia. Even brands that are running Big Game spots are touting a charitable component, including first-time Super Bowl advertisers Chipotle and DoorDash.
The do-good efforts come as brands attempt to match their marketing with the mood of the country, as consumers still struggle with COVID hardships.
"These moves reflect the overall environment of the country," says Tim Calkins, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. "We’re seeing brands decide that the best way to enhance their brand right now is to do something positive for the community.”
Planters is shelling out $5 million to supporting “unsung heroes” this year rather than spending at least that much to run a Super Bowl commercial. Parent company Kraft Heinz has plenty of in-store displays for its products leading up to the Super Bowl but it is opting out of running any pricey in-game ads this year. It’s the first time since 2017 that the U.S. packaged food marketer hasn’t run at least one in-game ad. Last year, it ran spots for Heinz and Planters.
“We continue to view it as an important moment to engage and interact with our consumers in a relevant and authentic manner,” Kraft Heinz said in a statement.
Planters has run three Super Bowl ads, including two in the last two years. Last year’s effort included killing off Mr. Peanut before the game and then having him resurrected as Baby Nut during an in-game ad, generating plenty of buzz for the brand. But this year, the brand is moving away from such frivolity.
Planters wants “to recognize and reward little acts of extraordinary substance across the country,” it announced Monday. The change in strategy comes as Kraft Heinz tries to make bigger bets on marketing for its household name brands.
“Planters nuts pack way more substance than empty snacks like potato chips, so when we show up - including with a Big Game activation - it’s going to fill people up,” Sanjiv Gajiwala, U.S. chief growth officer at Kraft Heinz, said in a statement. “This year, we’re walking the talk by launching the Planters ‘A Nut Above’ campaign, which celebrates making better choices in life and in snacking.”
In addition to spending $5 million on donations, Planters will dedicate an unspecified amount to promote the plan, and to work with agency VaynerMedia and others on the project. An in-game ad likely would have cost even more, when factoring in costs such as hiring a director and talent, plus other costs for a high-end ad shoot.
With uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic and other issues, brands such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi are also on the sidelines this year. (Pepsi will still spend big behind its halftime sponsorship.)
“A number of big brands have taken a pass on the Super Bowl this year but I think they will definitely be back in future years,” says Calkins.
The promotional push from Planters includes a 30-second video released Monday.
Planters is beginning by giving $130,000 to the bar Hook Hall in Washington, D.C., which gave free meals and supplies to hospitality workers. The brand also announced plans to give away $1 million to local bars, with $50,000 going to 20 bars nationwide nominated by fans.
Kia, as reported last week, will bring an 11-year in-game streak to an end. Russell Wager, VP of marketing for Kia Motors North America, said in a statement that the brand would instead “expand its charitable initiatives in support of America’s youth.”
Budweiser, meanwhile, announced last month that it would make a donation to a vaccine awareness campaign. It’s the first time in 37 years that Budweiser isn’t showing an in-game ad.
Danone yogurt brand Oikos, an NFL sponsor, is also incporporating a charitable component to its Super Bowl marketing, which involves running an ad in CBS' livestream of the game, a cheaper alternative to TV ads. Oikos, which also ran a livestream ad in last year's Super Bowl, will issue grants of at least $1,000 to 100 fitness professionals from the profits it pulls in from February sales of its new Oikos Pro yogurt, a minimum of $100,000. Oikos advertised in the TV Super Bowl broadcast twice, in 2012 and 2014.
Chipotle announced it will donate $1 from every Super Bowl Sunday delivery order to the National Young Farmers Coalition, and DoorDash is donating $1 for each order placed on Feb. 7 and 8, up to $1 million, to the Sesame Workshop.