From an Alien Apocalypse to Creepy Man-Squirrels, Jif’s New Ads Give You a Lot to Chew On

Publicis debuts fun first work for the peanut butter, plus sister brand Smucker's

A person runs from an alien invasion in this Jif commercial.
A woman flees an alien invasion, only to find a fate that seems even worse.
Publicis

Peanut butter is one of those products that seems like it should just be a copy-and-paste commodity, where competitors are all pretty much selling the same thing in different packaging. Instead, just about every fan has strong, passionate opinions about what is good peanut butter and what is grainy trash paste.

Positioning itself as the prior, peanut butter megabrand Jif today rolled out its first ads from the Publicis Groupe, which certainly went deeper and weirder with its storytelling than what you might expect from a mainstream grocery brand.

Publicis attributes the Jif work, along with new spots for sister brand Smucker’s (both are owned by the J.M. Smucker Company, which awarded creative and media to Publicis last year), to a collaboration of five agencies within its holding company: Publicis New York, Zenith, MSL, Digitas and Moxie.

In “Bunker,” we see a woman fleeing an alien invasion and taking shelter in a rural bunker. Fans of the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane might find the scenario a bit familiar, and, much like in the movie, the protagonist soon finds a disconcerting reason to believe this isn’t the safe haven she’s looking for.

“Squirrel” begins a bit more innocently, but the weirdness gradually builds to a level where it ends up feeling like a good fit alongside “Bunker,” with both ending on the tagline “That Jif’ing good.”

In addition to the Jif work, Publicis today launched its first work for jelly brand Smucker’s, focusing on its “Natural” product line.

The Smucker’s ads feature an approachable, quasi-capable “Father Nature,” who seems to have married into the name and lacks the divine weather powers of his wife, Mother Nature. The extent of his nature-centric abilities seems to be picking Smucker’s Natural preserves:

“We all talk to our clients about bravery, but when it’s decision time—particularly on big, iconic brands—most marketers default to what they know. Not these guys,” says Erica Roberts, executive creative director at Publicis New York. “The J.M. Smucker Company’s willingness to push well out of their comfort zone was inspiring. On Jif, we’ve gone from talking to parents about nourishing their kids, to creating mini-motion pictures about the absurd lengths people would go for it. And on Smucker’s, their namesake brand, we’ve given their 120-year-old family heritage a magical reboot. We’re launching PB&J for the modern day.”

The agency and brand hope the two campaigns will stand apart from most of the grocery CPG category’s advertising, which isn’t known (in America, at least) for being all that adventurous.

“It’s so exciting to debut two stellar campaigns, for two of our legacy brands. We’re all confident this body of work will be a bold stand-out in the industry and set a new bar for CPG creative excellence and effectiveness,” says Christine Hoffman, consumer engagement group lead at the J.M. Smucker Company. “It’s thrilling to breathe new excitement and creative life into our beloved Jif and Smucker’s brands.”

“Squirrel” debuts this week on NBC’s The Today Show on NBC, with “Bunker” debuting as a :30 on Sunday, Sept. 8, across several NFL regular season kick-off games. The :60 of “Bunker” will air during the Sept. 16 premiere of Dancing with the Stars.

“Kitchen” will also air first this week during The Today Show, and “List” will begin airing Sept. 2.

All four spots were directed by Wayne McClammy, who’s been behind some of the best-loved ads in recent years, including Geico’s “Hump Day” and Amazon Super Bowl spot “Alexa Loses Her Voice.”

CREDITS:

Client: The J.M. Smucker Company

Brand: Jif
Campaign Title: That Jif’ing Good
Agency: Publicis Groupe
Agency Location: New York
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Erica Roberts
Associate Creative Director, Copy: Alan Wilson
Associate Creative Director, Art: Peter Defries
EVP, Director of Integrated Production: Jenny Read
Executive Producer: Lauren Schneidmuller
Senior Producer: Jourdan Valdes
Designer: Zachary Collopy
Group Account Director: Pedro Perez
Account Director: Megan Shekleton

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