A Tasty Nut Butter Breaks Jelly’s Heart in Tragicomic Ads for MaraNatha

Together forever? Maybe not

Why can love never last? For those who thought peanut butter and jelly were meant to be forever—you know, as a couple—there’s crushing news from a small organic brand called MaraNatha.

This nut butter has said goodbye, abruptly, in the worst, “It’s not me, it’s you” kind of way.

Of course, Sad Jelly is out of his mind, cycling through the various stages of grief. Sobbing, boozing and pleading are involved. There are late-night text messages and impromptu visits with flowers. When nothing seems to be working, there’s destruction of property (those happy photos were just mocking him anyway).

The campaign, a first for the Hain Celestial Pantry brand, introduces an anthropomorphic character that’s basically a schmear of jelly on a piece of toast, with crusts for arms and legs and a fairly expressive “face.” It’s ridiculously cute in its distress. Those are real (animated) tears!

MaraNatha, which makes a variety of natural nut butters, isn’t just playing hard to get. With the tagline, “Too good for jelly,” the ads aim to make the point that its flavor stands on its own and doesn’t need embellishing. Then there’s the dig at high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, which really kicks Sad Jelly where it hurts.

“Jelly is just not MaraNatha’s jam anymore,” said Leah

Dunmore, Hain’s vp marketing.

Harsh!

The campaign, from indie agency Terri & Sandy, debuted last week on TV, in theaters, online in digital and social, and out-of-home. Also on tap: content partnerships with Food Network and Cooking Channel, and influencer marketing on blogs like PopSugar, Pure Wow and MindBodyGreen. Connecticut-based Women’s Marketing handled media.

Execs at Terri & Sandy said they arrived at the concept while they were eating MaraNatha straight out of the jar during their first brainstorming session. One of the creative teams came up with a stop-motion character called Sad Jelly, who’s depressed because he’d been dumped, said CEO Sandy Greenberg, and they figured they’d arrived at “a big idea for a little fighter brand.”