Jif taps Succession stars for peanut butter chocolate merger - Brand Innovators

Jif taps Succession stars for peanut butter chocolate merger

  • Chocolate and peanut butter are at the center of a tale of corporate intrigue in a new campaign touting Jif’s latest product innovation. 
  • A new promotional short film takes its inspiration from the former HBO hit “Succession” (all the way to casting J. Smith Cameron, who played corporate attorney Gerri in the series) to depict the merger of two fictional companies, Peanut Butter Group and Chocolatey. 
  • The spot is part of the brand’s “That Jif-ing Good” platform, which replaced the brand’s long standing tagline, “Choosy Moms Choose Jif.”

Consumers have known for decades about chocolate and peanut butter as “two great tastes that taste great together,” but Jif’s new campaign takes the combination a step further with its bit of fictional corporate intrigue. 

“Like all our work, this campaign started with the key truth about the brand, in this instance, the combination of the undeniable taste of Jif and the irresistibility of chocolate,” said Gail Hollander, chief marketing officer of J.M. Smucker Company. “As we thought about how to present this new concept in an unexpected way, we gravitated toward the idea of how powerful these flavors are, and we wanted to reflect the magnitude of them coming together. So, with an obvious hat tip to big business genre like Succession , we developed a campaign built around the Merger of two major companies – the Peanut Butter Group. and Chocolatey Corp.” 

“The core of the campaign is the short film starring J. Smith Cameron, which really brings this idea to life,” added Hollander. “We have complemented the spot with some really unique executions – from a full-page ad in the New York Times that is positioned as a press release announcing the merger, to a dedicated web site for the new PBC Inc.” 

The short film begins as a clear homage to Succession with a pulsating piano soundtrack, shots of individuals in front of floor-to-ceiling windows in New York office buildings and characters wearing fleece vests while tersely conversing on cell phones. As word of the merger leaks out, there are scenes on trading floors, in high-rise restaurants (where people discuss the fate of “J” in relation to “PB”) and a disgruntled executive at “Banana Corp.” who was shut out of the talks. 

“We’re constantly looking for new corners of culture for Jif to hack. And when we got the brief about two titans of taste combining to create Jif Peanut Butter and Chocolate Flavored Spread, it allowed us to insert ourselves into the most unexpected corner yet: Big business mergers,” said Alan Wilson, SVP Group Creative Director, BBH USA, in a statement shared with Brand Innovators. “So, it was only natural that we enlisted J. Smith Cameron to head the high-stakes business drama to launch the delicious new product.”

The campaign, which also includes full-page print advertising, sponsored-content news reporting about the fictional merger, and even a fully developed webpage for the merged company, was created by PSOne, a unit within Publicis Group dedicated to handling creative, data and media for Jif’s parent company, J.M. Smucker Company.

The new product and campaign are part of the brand’s “That Jif’ing Good” positioning, which was introduced a few years ago, replacing the brand’s long-running tagline, “Choosy Moms Choose Jif.” 

“As always, we want to reach new consumers, but this is also a unique opportunity to reflect on how Jif can deliver on new occasions for existing fans,” said Hollander. And that’s key to our underlying strategy. Like we say, it really is that Jif-ing Good and we want to recognize how the brand is so much more than PBJ. It’s such an amazing ingredient for snacking and with Jif Peanut Butter and Chocolate Flavored Spread we open up a whole new occasion and way to offer peanut butter people the chance to enjoy more irresistibility.”