Local company goes Super-ad route

www.recordnet.comAdvertising during last year’s Super Bowl was just what a Stockton-based company needed to get the word out about its products. What a difference a year makes.

Emerald Nuts, the snack-food division of Stockton-based Diamond of California, made itself known to “sports nuts” with a 30-second ad.

The surreal spot involves a father refusing to give his young daughter some Emerald cashews, saying “maybe unicorns will disappear” if he gives her the treat. Suddenly, the father is visited by a unicorn, Santa Claus and a bizarre-looking Easter Bunny, threatening him if he doesn’t share the nuts. Ultimately, dad gives in.

The ad was so successful that ESPN.com counted it among the Top 10 TV ads of Super Bowl XXXIV.

According to Tim Cannon, director of marketing for Diamond of California, the ad has given Emerald an identity.

“When you’re talking about the snack nut category, it was dominated in the past by one player (Planters), but the Super Bowl ad helped establish our brand, and it’s helped us build our target younger audience,” said Cannon, referring to those ages 18-35.

“We had approximately 80 million consumers respond to our Web site, and the ad was the No. 1 spot that was on TiVo,” Cannon said. “We had a 56 percent lift in sales and it increased our market share. And people just wanted to check us out and see what we were about.”

That kind of exposure doesn’t come cheap. The cost of a 30-second spot for last year’s Super Bowl was $2.4 million, a 6 percent increase from the year before and more than twice the cost a decade ago.

Adweek recently reported that the cost of a 30-second ad for this year’s game on ABC has stayed flat. There are 58 in-game slots available to advertisers, but some high-profile companies — including Visa and McDonald’s — are expected to pass up the game in favor of ad spending on the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Emerald Nuts began its emergence in 2004 with other clever ads that used the brand’s initials (E.N.), making some weird, off-the-wall but interesting combinations –“Encouraging Norwegians,” “Egotistical Normans,” and “Evil Navigators” to name a few.

Vicki Zeigler, public relations director for Diamond of California, added Emerald was also an advertiser during the 2004 Summer Olympics.

“Athletes and active people are concerned about their diets, and it was a natural fit to have nuts go with sports,” Zeigler said. Nuts, in moderate amounts, according to Zeigler, are a good source of energy and fits into low-carb lifestyles.

Zeigler added that the 2005 Super Bowl ad was honored with the “Effie Award,” given to the commercial that rewards creativity and brand awareness.

In addition to its television spots, Ziegler said Emerald is also a sponsor for the Los Angeles and New York City marathons and the Emerald 10K Across the Bay, a run that starts from Sausalito and ends at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

Another football-related campaign that will also help the company’s exposure is the Emerald Bowl, which will be broadcast live on ESPN at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 29 from SBC Park in San Francisco.

It is during the Emerald Bowl that the company will unveil its latest TV ads, which will involve once again the “E.N.” campaign.

Once again, Emerald will do a Super Bowl ad, although Cannon and Ziegler are sworn to secrecy about what will be in it.

“Obviously, we can’t reveal it, but the company we have been working with (Goolsby, Silverstein and Partners in San Francisco) has been very instrumental and it will be creative,” Cannon said.

Super Bowl XL will be broadcast at 3:25 p.m. on Feb. 5 on ABC (Ch. 10, 7).

Contact reporter Tony Acosta at (209) 546-8287 or tacosta@recordnet.com