'Today' spots serve as the perfect ingredient for Jif's branding effort

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Name: Melinda Long, account supervisor, Cohn & Wolfe
Placement: Today – March 19, 21, 28
Pitch timeline: One week

Who is your client? What are its media goals?

Melinda Long: Jif's media goals for the year's Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest were... to strengthen the equity of the contest through raising awareness and... through increased media
coverage, seeking a 10% [boost] over the prior year.

What made Today such a good placement?

Long: The Today hits were excellent placements because they didn't involve a paid spokesperson. The chefs were real consumers, kid peanut butter fans who were engaged with the Jif brand and created their own out-of-the-box peanut butter recipes that were appealing to other kids their ages.

There are plenty of companies pitching food products. How did you overcome that to make yours stand out?

Long: Jif has been pleasing peanut butter fans for 50 years, and Cohn & Wolfe's obstacle was to generate news for a pantry staple.

We found that cooking was linked to fostering creativity among children. This is why the Jif contest is so appealing to families across the nation. It is a vehicle to get parents to invite their kids into the kitchen to spend quality time together and foster creativity.

Finally, the fact that a peanut butter sandwich can help a child earn a $25,000 scholarship fund to college is the ultimate hook.

Did you media train Jif personnel for this? What else did you provide to secure placement?

Long: We did not have Jif personnel in front of the camera. The kid chefs, along with their parents, were the spokespeople for the brand.

We conducted informal message training with the kids and we practiced, practiced, practiced... Cohn & Wolfe also sent footage of each child creating [his or her] recipe in [his or her] home. Today went for the pitch right away.

What was the impact of the hit?

Long: The hits on Today generated media beyond the live segments. NBC affiliates and local media in the hometown markets of the finalists picked up the story and ran it several times.

In addition, Today gave these amazing children a spotlight, making them local celebrities in their towns and schools. The families had a once-in-a-lifetime, memorable experience.

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