Hotline Hijinks: JB Smoove Slays Your Excuses for Not Eating Plant-Based Eggs

The actor-comedian stars with Chris Paul, Lindsey Vonn and others in new Just Egg campaign

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Working a customer-service hotline means fielding complaints and offering solutions, and no one flips that mundane script on its head with quite as much panache as J.B. Smoove on an improvisational tear.

The prolific actor-comedian has taken on the temporary gig for Just Egg in a series of spots timed for New Year’s resolutions and aimed at nudging people into plant-based eating.

Smoove, in vignettes that are largely ad libbed, isn’t opposed to dishing out some tough love when he hears comments like, “I don’t like vegetables,” and “WTF are plant eggs?”

The protests are real, by the way, taken from actual consumer feedback, while Smoove’s role as pull-no-punches employee is strictly for the cameras.

In one spot, he answers an email from someone who says they’d like to try Just Egg’s mung bean-based products, but they love meat and eggs too much to switch to plant-based food.

“You know what else you’re a big fan of? Cholesterol,” Smoove says. “You’re a regular damn caveman.”

Though he doesn’t cite the science, Smoove says cholesterol was one of the biggest causes of caveman death, closely followed by “not being able to outrun a sabertooth tiger…because of cholesterol!”

Just Egg

Smoove, a loud-and-proud vegan who started narrating the brand’s “Really Good Eggs” commercials in 2021, has expanded his role to be front and center in the first wave of ads for 2023’s “Really Lame Excuses.”

The digital campaign, which will roll out in stages this month, also stars Chris Paul of the NBA, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, ultramarathon runner Scott Jurek and high-profile content creators like Alexa Soto of @alexafuelednaturally.

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Just Egg

Educating with empathy

The spots, conceived and produced by the brand’s in-house creative team, has a few main goals, among them “arming existing consumers with answers to the most common complaints from their families and educating new consumers who want to give plant-based a try,” Tom Rossmeissl, head of global marketing at Just Egg, told Adweek.

“A lot of people are reassessing their diets in January, and we want to make it really easy for them to choose plant-based,” Rossmeissl said. “We’re going barrier by barrier, excuse by excuse.”

Just Egg

A recent study, conducted by Suzy for the brand, found that 59% of Americans plan to shake up their diets and focus on their health in 2023, with 31% saying they will try to eat less animal protein and more plant-based food.

The flip side: 48% of people break their resolutions before February.

Confronting the hurdles of the category head-on seemed to be a good place to start with the marketing, Rossmeissl said, with 50% of consumers saying they think plant-based food costs too much, while others name cooking, taste and versatility as reasons they don’t buy in.

A dedicated microsite addresses various consumer objections—“Tofu is weird,” “My loves ones won’t eat it” and “I’m not sure it will fuel me,” among others—and provides nutritional information, recipes and “fact-based, empathetic responses.”

Just Egg

As part of the campaign, Just Egg is running retail promotions with Kroger, Whole Foods, Target and other chains, where consumers can get discounts on product.

Just Egg, a San Francisco-based unicorn in the food tech space, has been a pioneer in the fauxtein movement that’s blossomed in recent years and accelerated during the pandemic.

Its products are now sold at 48,000-plus retailers and 2,400 restaurants. One of its chain partners, Caribou Coffee, recently added a Just Egg tomato and pesto flatbread to its permanent menu in 400 stores after a successful test run last year.

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