‘Hits the sweet spot of our millennial target’: Why the Almond Board of California is partnering with Marvel Studios

Illustration of two people standing back-to-back in colorful clothing and taking selfies.

The Almond Board of California, a non-profit organization that supports Almond growers founded in 1955, wants more millennials and younger demographics to view almonds as a healthy snack. To get in front of that target audience, the board has partnered with Marvel for new ads timed to the premiere of Thor: Love and Thunder, which is in theaters Friday.

“When Marvel came to us and we looked at the overall audience that they have, certainly it hits that sweet spot of our millennial target,” said Emily Fleischmann, vp of global market development of The Almond Board of California, about Marvel’s core audience and the audience they are targeting.

After seeing the Almond Board of California’s “Do You Almond” campaign that incorporated some tongue-in-cheek executions, as well as a truthful message about almonds’ goodness, while also playing to their audience’s interests, Marvel approached them with the idea of partnering with the Thor: Love and Thunder storyline. The ads will be appear on social channels such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram and streaming platforms such as YouTube and Hulu, and and so that they can reach the target audience where they spend most of their time watching videos.

“Hopefully it will capture consumer attention so we can just continue to build awareness of how amazing almonds are to fit into people’s own personal wellness journey,” said Fleischmann. The video spots were a joint effort between both brands along with agencies Sterling Rice Group and Porter Novelli.

The aim of the campaign is to emphasize how almonds can be viewed as a reliable source of good health. Essentially, the campaign’s key message showcases almonds as a nutrient-dense snack that can be easily incorporated into the daily wellness regimen and help consumers achieve their wellness goals.

“Associating eating almonds with superhero powers is a really clever way to encourage younger consumers to eat almonds and feel excited about it,” said Adam Dornbusch, CEO and founder of EnTribe, a user-generated content marketing management platform.

“This is a clear endeavor to reframe the narrative around healthy food (and almonds). The Almond Board of California is leveraging entertainment to democratize health and increase the adoption of healthy habits,” said Valeria Mares, evp and global head of communications planning at Mediahub.

It is unclear how much of the non-profit’s advertising budget is allocated to the campaign as Fleischmann would not share overall budget specifics. According to Kantar, the non-profit spent close to $37,000 in 2021 for marketing efforts.

Fleischmann noted that the spend was 50/50 split between streaming and social media as the ads can be seen on platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram and as well as streaming platforms. As for how the budget was split between the social media platforms, Fleischmann declined to disclose that information.

Working with entertainment franchises like Marvel has increasingly become a popular practice for marketers. As previously reported by Digiday, Liberty Mutual, Bushmills and Booking.com have recently partnered with entertainment franchises on co-marketing efforts to boost brand awareness.

“At the end of the day, content is king, so brands need to make sure that the content they create around that partnership is engaging to their audience,” said Jaylen Culp, associate integrated strategist for the marketing communications company Campbell Ewald.

Eunice Shin, partner and head of technology, media and entertainment practices at Prophet, a growth strategy consulting firm also chimed in about how celebrity star power can enhance a campaign’s message.

“The Almond Board benefits from the film being headlined by Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth, two celebrities with strong star power who are seemingly pristine matches to the wellness message that the campaign is looking to spark,” Shin said.

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