Goodby’s Wordplay, Sight Gags Are Nutty

SAN FRANCISCO Diamond of California is targeting young, active snack buyers with an off-the-wall regional campaign to brand its new Emerald Nuts. TV spots will break during the National Football League playoffs this weekend.

Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, developed a series of 15 commercials playing off the letters E and N with odd images such as “encouraging Norwegians,” “Egyptian navigators” and “entangled nine-year-olds,” all of whom, we are told in a voiceover, “Love Emerald Nuts.”

The 15-second spots show these random people munching on the snacks in bizarre situations, such as the entangled children clumped together at the bottom of a playground slide.

“You’ll wonder, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ” said Marty Wenzell, Goodby account director.

TV breaks this Sunday during the NFC Championship game, in the San Francisco, Sacramento, Chico and Fresno, Calif., markets. Two spots will be shown regionally during the Super Bowl, Feb. 1.

The campaign’s goal is to introduce the 14 new snacks such as Old Fashioned Honey Roasted Peanuts and Honey Dijon Walnuts ‘n Cashews as viable competitors in the nut business, virtually dominated by Kraft Foods’ Planters, Wenzell said. “This was our opportunity to fight against the big boys.”

The media plan also includes print and in-store display. The campaign introduction in southern California has been hindered by a supermarket strike; the agency expects to launch there during the Academy Awards, Feb. 29.

Spending on the Emerald Nuts campaign was undisclosed. In 2002, Diamond Walnut Growers spent $6 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus; no figures were available for 2003.