lo-res_952684_h-sThe conditions were just right this year, such that the Wonderful Company found itself with warehouses full of one of its signature products, Wonderful Pistachios. Although the legumes are perishable, they can be stored for relatively long periods, so Wonderful did not have to rush to get them into consumers’ hands. But that’s exactly what it is doing, seeking to leverage its lucky crop to ensure its appeal to existing and potential customers, for now and into the future.

In particular, in its attempt to encourage people who have never tried the pistachios to “Get Crackin’,” Wonderful has lowered the retail prices of its nuts by 25 percent, with the stated goal of selling huge numbers of pistachios.

Simultaneous with the substantial price reduction, Wonderful has expanded and increased its marketing efforts. In the brand’s largest advertising campaign to date, an animated elephant named Ernie (voiced by John Cena) will interact with human actors in real-world settings where pistachio consumption might be appropriate. The television spots will rely largely on humor to appeal to potential consumers, including jokes as the expense of the types of nuts traditionally consumed at baseball games.

Although the campaign is thus brand new, it still resonates with the Wonderful Company’s long-standing approach to marketing communications. For example, both famous (e.g., Stephen Colbert, Snoop Dogg, Khloe Kardashian) and infamous (e.g., the impeached former governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich) celebrities have appeared in advertising for the pistachios in the past. Many of these ads poke gentle fun at the source of their celebrity when describing how each person eats her or his pistachios.

Furthermore, the Wonderful Company plans a parallel marketing effort in print and billboards to highlight the health benefits of pistachios. But none of these advertisements will highlight the price change. Rather, the company is relying on its advertising to get people familiar with its brand name, then using its pricing to get them to try and keep buying the brand.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is this pricing technique a sustainable competitive advantage?
  2. What will the Wonderful Company do if, say next year, the pistachio crop is very small?
  3. How can it position itself now to prepare for such a possibility?

 Source: Jessica Wohl, “Wonderful Pistachios Begins Biggest Push Yet as Prices Fall After Record Crop,” Advertising Age, October 10, 2016.