Jif Just Made the Most Apocalyptic Peanut Butter Ad Yet

Publicis and Wayne McClammy go big for Smucker's

Alien death ships darken the skies, and you find yourself sprinting for your life down gutted streets, past burned-out houses and the smoldering skeletons of cars, as the invaders' heat-rays lay waste to the neighborhood. 

Can your day get any worse?

In the new 10 Cloverfield Lane-inspired commercial below for Jif peanut butter, we learn that yes, yes it can... 

Jif | Bunker

… if Jif is your absolute favorite, and the the local survival bunker only stocks some generic brand.

The spot is part of Publicis New York for Jif parent J.M. Smucker. In a second spot, squirrels—so many squirrels—hang out with a woman snacking on Jif, though you might notice that one of these critters isn't like all the rest: 

Jif | Squirrel

We'll take our chances with the aliens instead. 

Publicis created the entertaining ads with sibling shops Zenith, MSL, Digitas and Moxie under the Power of One mantle. 

Clearly, this is wilder, wackier work than we normally see from CPG brands. Press materials call the approach "category-shattering," which overstates the case a bit, though Jif's spots and a pair of "Father Nature" commercials (below) for Smucker's Natural strawberry fruit spread score thanks to cinematic stylings and goofy good humor:

Smucker's | Kitchen
Smucker's | List

Dude forgot to pick up the Chiffon margarine—no wonder Mama's miffed. (Not that we're anywhere near old enough to recall a certain "Mother Nature" campaign. OK, we're ancient—happy now?)

Wayne McClammy, one of the great comedy directors working in advertising, last spotted tweaking "Total Eclipse of the Heart" for Dos Equis, provides the perfect pacing and visual verve for both the peanut butter and fruit spread brands.

"The new rules of the game are all about capturing and holding onto consumers' attention through breakthrough storytelling done with craft," says Geoff Tanner, J.M. Smucker svp for growth and engagement.

The flight for Jif is "designed to modernize the iconic brand and make it relevant to peanut butter lovers of all ages, not just moms and dads," says Publicis group account director Pedro Perez. "Its over-the-top approach and hyperbolic tone might seem a bit extreme for a jar of peanut butter, but if you're a true peanut butter lover, you'd understand." 

On the other hand, Smucker's "is talking to today's parents who are looking for more natural food options," Perez says, and is tapping into social trends by presenting a memorable stay-at-home dad. 

"Father Nature perfectly personifies the changing face of fathers in modern families," adds Ali Brown, the brand's strategy director. Casting the right Father Nature was key, so Smucker's held five try-outs across three cities and tested dozens of actors before choosing Brandon Keener (whose scores of ad credits memorably included the Skittles "Piñata" spot from 2008).

During the bunker shoot, "our lead character ate at least one full jar of Jif throughout the filming of the last scene, if not more," recalls Publicis associate creative director Alan Wilson. "We're just grateful no on-camera dialogue was necessary." 

CREDITS

Client: The J.M. Smucker Co.

Brand: Jif

Campaign Title: That Jif'ing Good 
Agency: Publicis Groupe
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

Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Wayne McClammy 
Editorial Company: Union Editorial
Editor: Christjan Jordan
Producer:  Susan Motamed

Audio Record & Mix: Harbor Picture Company
Audio Mixer:  Steve Perski
Sound Design: Beacon Street Studios

Brand: Smucker's Natural

Campaign Title: Father Nature 
Agency: Publicis Groupe
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Erica Roberts    
Sr. Art Director: Molly Prunka
Sr. Copywriter: Blake Fromkin
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

Production Company: Hungry Man
Director: Wayne McClammy 
Editorial Company: Union Editorial
Editor: Andrew Ratzlaff
Producer:  Susan Motamed
Audio Record & Mix:  Harbor Picture Company

Audio Mixer: Steve Perski
Sound Design: Beacon Street Studios

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.