Merkley + Partners and Florida’s Natural Debate the Most Important Issue of 2016: Pulp or No Pulp?!

By Patrick Coffee 

As we all wait to wave goodbye to this terrible, horrible, no good very bad election and start wondering when it’s OK to think about the midterms, the agency world still has some politically-minded campaigns to share. Some were even created to help sell clients’ products!!

New York’s Merkley + Partners, for example, managed to tie orange juice to the 2016 race in a totally non-partisan way via this attack ad parody collaboration with Funny or Die for Florida’s Natural. It manages to explore the merits of the “pulp” and “no pulp” positions while also vaguely referencing some of the stupidest IRL political controversies of recent years.

If you want to make it all a little more amusing, just imagine that the kid in this ad is really the Deez Nuts guy.

Quick, someone write a think piece on the continued emasculation of Dads in Ads.

There was a good bit more to this campaign. Agency and client launched a pulp vote and a nonsensical Funny or Die orange pulp quiz that did not include the most important question: Which state has the oldest Orange County, better known as The Real O.C.?? (The answer is New York, not California.)

There was also a Facebook Live “debate” between the warring pulp factions.

Three of these went down, and each was more than 10 minutes long, but the effort was notable for being the first FB Live project to include “onscreen graphical polling.” It also included both a Frank Luntz-style post-debate “focus group” and a day-after “cable news show” review of the very same debates. The press release tells us these events scored 309K, 123K and 83K views, respectively, and though we’re not sure how views were quantified in this case, that first number is pretty good considering that Florida’s Natural has just over a million Facebook fans.

Merkley+Partners GCD Erich Hartmann said:

“Everyone knows that pulp is polarizing (in a fun way), so we needed the perfect media and content partner to help give our election/debate campaign idea that little extra bit of awesome. Funny or Die was an obvious choice, and the collaborative content became the tent poles of our campaign. The tone was perfect, too: just the right amount of endearing political snark, especially for this election year. Being the first to use interactive, live, on-screen polling graphics for Facebook Live was a very cool bonus.”

“Considering the craziness of this campaign season, we thought a light-hearted approach was the best way to raise visibility for the brand,” added the client’s marketing manager Kelly Wade.

“Most Pulp” did win the Florida’s Natural election. But we wonder whether that might have had something to do with a certain skewing of the polls. To paraphrase the oft-misquoted Pauline Kael: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for more pulp. Where they are I don’t know. But sometimes when I travel outside my culturally liberal urban bubble, I can feel them.”


Florida’s Natural
Chris Groom, VP Sales and Marketing
Dan McSpadden, Marketing Director
Kelly Wade, Marketing Manager

Andy Hirsch, Chief Creative Officer/Chairman
Erich Hartmann, Group Creative Director
Steve Pashkoff, Group Creative Director
Cait Cannon, Junior Copywriter
Julie Endow, Junior Art Director
Yoni Kim, Associate Creative Director, Digital Design, UX
Rich Chu, Lead Web Developer
Scott Gelber, Chief Digital Officer
Jennifer Cimmino, Digital Group Account Director
Max Bennington, Digital Group Production Director
Sam Kaufman, Associate Media Director
Tiffany Geiger, Project Manager
Kim Price, Senior Content Strategist
Ben Delatte, Community Manager
Maggi Vale, Group Account Director
Taylor Rhodes, Account Supervisor

Funny or Die
Content Partner