OK now we’re not sure how to pronounce anything.
Jif peanut butter today unveiled a limited-edition jar labeled “Gif” as part of a clever partnership with GIF repository Giphy. The stunt, created by Publicis’ PSOne agency in New York, reignites a long-running debate about the correct pronunciation of GIF.
By now, most have made up their minds on the matter one way or the other, but Jif saw fit to create some semantic synesthesia by putting a G on a brand name we all know starts with a “juh” sound (unlike GIF, which is of course a hard-G sound like “glove” or “get over your lame argument about how the creator of GIFs pronounced it”).
The special Gif edition of otherwise normal Jif peanut butter—which also has the original label on the opposite side—went on sale via Amazon today at a price of $9.99. (Update: The limited edition appeared to have sold out by 12:40 p.m. ET.)
The official point of the campaign, which might get lost in the disagreements along the way, is meant to be that GIF is definitely pronounced with a hard G, unlike Jif.
“We’re teaming up with Giphy to put a lid on this decade-long debate and prove there is only one Jif. It’s creamy, delicious peanut butter, not a looping picture you can send to make friends and family laugh,” said Rebecca Scheidler, vp of marketing at Jif. “So spread the word like Jif on bread: Jif is peanut butter, GIFs are animations.”
In addition to the limited-edition label, PSOne created a video featuring a supposed professor of “linjuistics” explaining why GIF is so obviously pronounced Jif.
Meanwhile, the brand partnered with Giphy to create a series of branded gifs—housed on a Giphy.com/Jif landing page—that will fuel social media arguments for months and years to come:
Given that this debate is central to how Giphy pronounces its own name, the company has a clear point of view on the hard-or-soft-G situation.
“At Giphy, we know there’s only one ‘Jif’ and it’s peanut butter,” said Alex Chung, founder and CEO of Giphy. “If you’re a soft G, please visit Jif.com. If you’re a hard G, thank you, we know you’re right. Whether you like your Gs hard or soft, let’s all share some fun and let peanut butter unite us in saying GIF and eating Jif.”
The “Jif vs. GIF” campaign is the newest installment in a revived creative marketing push from the peanut butter brand since parent J.M. Smucker Company consolidated its creative with Publicis in 2018. While Publicis has worked to reboot the advertising for several J.M. Smucker brands, including Folger’s and namesake jam brand Smucker’s, it most notable work has been on the Jif account.
In August 2019, Jif rolled out a campaign called That Jif’ing Good featuring two unexpectedly attention-grabbing spots: Squirrel (starring a disturbingly man-sized nut lover) and Bunker, a twisting tale of an alien apocalypse. Adweek named Bunker one of the best ads of 2019.
“Since last year’s launch of the That Jif’ing Good campaign, the brand has truly embraced its new-found irreverence,” said Erica Roberts, executive creative director at Publicis’ PSOne. “This is what gave us the permission to meaningfully jump into the Jif vs. GIF debate after nearly a decade. It’s really the first time in the brand’s history where hijacking a conversation like this is actually on brand. I’m so proud of the PSOne and Giphy teams for tapping into the absurdity of the debate and ratcheting it up to the next level.”
Client: The J. M. Smucker Company
Campaign Title: #JifvsGIF
Agency Location: New York
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Erica Roberts
Emerging Technology Director: Jon Hackett
Associate Creative Director, Copy: Alan Wilson
Associate Creative Director, Art: Peter Defries
Copywriter: Blake Fromkin
Art Director: Molly Prunka
Designer: Zachary Collopy
Designer: Guillermo Echevarria
Experience Design: Marga Javier
Experience Design: Janice Park
Strategy Director: Allie O’Shea
Group Account Director: Pedro Perez
Account Director: Erika Maddrey
Account Supervisor: Lauren Wojciechowski
Vp, Project Management: Alex Orson
Svp, Consumer Marketing: Patricia Hallock
Svp, Influencer Marketing: Saveira Singh
Vp, Media Relations: Alan Danzis
Print producer: Dorina Sharara
Production Company: Funny Or Die
Director: Carlyn Hudson
Producer: Michelle Senay
Producer: Nate Vaughan
Editorial Company: Funny Or Die
Editor: Andrew Jewell
Producer: Michelle Senay
Audio Record & Mix: Kylen Deporter
Creative Director: Mark Miller
Art Director: Dave Franzese
Creative Team: Brooke Bamford, Jake Longoria, TJ Freda
Project Manager: Pamela Thomas
Director: Dave Franzese
Director of Photography: Sharif El Neklawy
Wardrobe: Julia Baylis, Brooke Bamford
Hair & Makeup: Nicole Elle King
Production Design: Brooke Bamford
Casting: Lauren Charkow
Editor / Compositor: Jake Longoria
Producer: Kati Rehbeck
Judge: Felicia Greenfield
Athlete: Matrell Smith
Perfume Model: Sandy Tejada
Teacher: Megan Lynch
Average Joe: David Davino