Taking their rapid-fire bickering and insults from the “Community” set backstage, comedic actors Joel McHale and Ken Jeong argue over the right way to eat mixed nuts in a new Planters commercial set to run in select cities during the Super Bowl.
The 30-second ad will air shortly before halftime in 30 of the largest U.S. markets. Planters' new owner, Hormel Foods, opted for the regional media buy rather than going all in, as former parent Kraft Heinz had done in some recent Super Bowls. Most recently, Planters generated buzz in 2020 when the company killed off its Mr. Peanut character ahead of the Big Game. Then, following the death of Kobe Bryant and others in a helicopter crash, the brand muted its approach. Planters' 2020 Super Bowl ad featured the funeral and “rebirth” of iconic mascot, and he aged throughout the year in various ads. Planters sat out the 2021 game.
While not a national in-game buy, this year’s ad still marks the highest-profile Planters campaign since Hormel Foods bought the brand from Kraft Heinz last year for $3.3 billion. This year's ad, like the 2020 one, comes from VaynerMedia.
Jeong encounters McHale backstage and is offended by seeing him eat the nuts by the handful “like some intermittent fasting squirrel.” McHale responds by insulting Jeong’s “tiny hands,” remarking that a cashew “looks like a banana,” as he holds one.
A longer version of the ad will also run online.
“When it comes to eating Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts, we noticed people go about eating them one of two ways, either all together or they pick them out one at a time,” Jaynee Dykes, senior brand manager for Planters, said in an email to Ad Age. “We also know that Americans are more than happy to pick sides, so we decided [to] have fun with it and bring to life the all-important, nutty debate of how to eat your Planters Deluxe Mixed Nuts.
The decision to run the ad regionally reflected Planters’ desire to be “intentional” with its ad spending, Dykes said. “We chose to focus on the top DMAs as well as key markets with our retailers and consumers.”
So while New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Miami, among other large metro areas, will witness the nutty debate, fans in San Diego, Denver and Seattle will not.
Dykes said the brand would drum up excitement for the “All or One” ad in the coming weeks but declined to disclose details.
Planters previously used the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl to attract attention to its campaign and remind consumers to stock up for game time snacking.
Hormel, home to brands like Jennie-O, Spam and Skippy, acquired Planters with intentions to make it a foundation for a growing snack business, and a complement to other brands in its portfolio that could better penetrate channels like convenience stores. In a recent interview on Ad Age’s Marketer's Brief podcast, Rafik Lawendy, who heads the Planters brand for Hormel and previously was with Kraft Heinz, described nuts as a “great food for the future,” given consumers’ greater propensity for snacking, and health and diet trends favoring high-protein foods. “They have all of the consumer and growth trends coming their way.”
Along with VaynerMedia on creative, PHD handles media and ICF Next is Planters' PR agency.
See which brands are buying ads in Super Bowl 2022.