Jif Made an Epic Gladiator Ad for…Squeezable Peanut Butter

By | January 4, 2021

Sometimes, when you fancy peanut butter, unscrewing the lid of a jar and scooping out the contents can be a bit of a hassle—which is no doubt why Jif has created new squeezable packaging that makes snacking super convenient.

To promote its new packaging, the brand enlisted PSOne, the Publicis multi-agency team formed for client The J.M. Smucker Co., to create an epic ad that shows just how handy its product is.

The spot, titled “The Gladiator School,” is part of the brand’s wider “That Jif’ing Good” campaign. It shows a burly, peanut butter-eating gladiator as he is interrupted from his lunch and challenged to a duel—specifically “a fight to the Jif.”

His assailant attacks him with a number of weapons, but they all break on the gladiator’s shield. Eventually, the attacker grabs a knife left in the jar of peanut butter on the table—only to have that one broken as well.

The frame then cuts to the victorious gladiator snacking on celery and the squeezable Jif while announcing that you don’t need a knife to eat peanut butter any more. It aims to show the great lengths peanut butter lovers will go to to get their hands on the brand, said Jif.

Jif released its first Publicis-created ads in 2019, which employed similar cinematic style. Titled “Bunker” and “Squirrel,” the spots moved the brand in a bold new direction, with “Bunker” being named one of Adweek’s 25 Best Ads of 2019.

That spot features a woman fleeing an alien invasion and taking shelter in a rural bunker only to discover it wasn’t quite the ideal haven she’d been looking for.

Last February, the brand also teamed up with Giphy to temporarily rebrand limited edition jars as GIF, noting the clear similarity between the two names and reigniting a debate about how to correctly pronounce the word GIF (some people say it with a soft J sound, while others say it with a hard G).

The point of the campaign was to communicate that GIF is definitely pronounced with a hard G, unlike Jif, and to “prove there is only one Jif.”

Speaking about the brand’s latest gladiator campaign,  Rebecca Scheidler, vp of marketing at Jif, said: “The Gladiator School commercial further accentuates our creative leadership in the category. Once again, we’ve blended the perfect mix of epic and irreverent, in a smart, entertaining and inviting message. We’re delighted to extend the That Jif’ing Good campaign to our newest addition, Jif Squeeze.”

Erica Roberts, executive creative director at PSOne added: “It’s hard to validate a consumer insight from 65 BC, but we’re pretty confident ancient Roman gladiators would have killed to get their hands on Jif Squeeze. It’s convenient. It’s delicious. And they wouldn’t have had to get their daggers dirty to enjoy it. That’s a win even by today’s standards.”

Client: The J.M. Smucker Company
Brand: Jif
Campaign Title: That Jif’ing Good
Commercial Title: Gladiator School
Agency:  PSOne
Agency Location: New York
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird
Executive Creative Director: Erica Roberts
Creative Director, Copy: Alan Wilson  
Creative Director, Art: Peter Defries
Head of Integrated Production: Jenny Read  
Executive Producer: Lauren Schneidmuller
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Deanna Gattie
Group Client Lead: Gail Hollander
Group Account Director: Pedro Perez
Account Director: Erika Maddrey
Account Supervisor: Lauren Wojciechowski
SVP, Strategy Director: Jennifer Baldwin
Senior Project Manager: Ariel Wakasa Gonzalez
Production Company: Reset
Director: Markus Walter
Executive Producer: Deannie O’Neil
Producer: Annabel Ridley
Editorial Company:  SpotWelders
Editor: Mischa Meyer
Assistant Editor: Anil Baral
Producer:  Carolina Padilla
VFX/Post Production Company: Blacksmith
Creative Director: Tom Bussell
Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
Producer: Ashley Goodwin
Audio Record & Mix:  Super Exploder
Audio Mixer & Sound Designer: Jody Nazzaro
Music House: Rwdy Music
Composer: Matthias Biermann