Case Study: Edgy Ad Campaign, With Hefty Digital, Traditional PR Support, Helps the Pistachio Come Out of Its Shell

Company: Roll International (Paramount Farms) Timeframe: March - Dec. 2009 In early 2009, life wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for the pistachio. In March of that year, the FDA issued a precautionary, voluntary recall for the green nut for salmonella contamination, which caused a media firestorm and an ensuing panic of pistachio lovers nationwide. Although the FDA found that one single grower that contributed less than 1% of the total harvest in 2008 was responsible for the recall, the damage had been done: category sales plummeted by 60%—although there were no reported illnesses. Nut Job:  Levi Johnston (right) and his bodyguard, Tank, cracked the viral code with a controversial 30-second spot promoting pistachios.

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