Prunes Go for Laughs: Randazzo & Blavins to Do Lighter TV Fare

SAN FRANCISCO-The California Prune Board has awarded an additional $6 million in billings to Randazzo & Blavins here. This assignment increases R&B’s billings on the account to more than $7 million.
R&B, which has handled retail promotional activities for the board, is adding creative responsibility and production of the group’s upcoming TV ad campaign.
“Humor is very key to the new campaign,” said John Randazzo, managing partner of R&B. “The challenge has always been how to destigmatize prunes with consumers. Our approach will have . . . a proactive twist.”
R&B will target women ages 35-50, concentrating on the nutritional benefits of the fruit. New ads will pit prunes against other fruits that are high in potassium and fiber. The image of prunes as a convenient snack will also be touted. The 15- and 30-second animated spots will be launched in late September and will feature celebrity voiceovers.
“One of the spots features animated Cleopatra and Marc Antony characters,” said Randazzo. “We are working hard to secure one female celebrity with a distinct East Coast twang.”
Ketchum Advertising here developed the board’s current campaign with the tagline “Let your mouth make your mind up.” TV ads feature women of different ages “thinking aloud” as they debate whether to eat a prune. The end result in each spot is that the women try the fruit and love it.
The board reportedly felt the campaign was not “sexy or memorable enough” to enhance prunes’ staid image. The resulting $6 million account loss for Ketchum is a significant blow, since it is coping with a wave of major staff changes.