First Family of Popcorn

Pioneering Story

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his big league debut. Mother’s Day was proclaimed a national holiday. The Ford Motor Company established the eight-hour workday. And an all-American brand bound for snack stardom was born. JOLLY TIME. The oldest popcorn company in the United States was launched by Iowa entrepreneur Cloid H. Smith, who started hand-shelling corn in his basement a century ago. And while his business has grown and changed over the years, it has never left the family. JOLLY TIME has been owned and operated by five generations of Smith’s descendants—an extended family that includes employees, growers and customers. The tight-knit team pops up gluten-free and whole grain snacks, using kernels that are non-GMO. Over the years, the company has developed a roster of products to suit modern tastes, from traditional kernels to trans-fat-free microwave popcorn.

Challenge

Few brands can say they’ve been around for 100 years. And few can compete with JOLLY TIME’s rich history, pioneering story and generations-strong heritage. But, like all good Midwesterners, the folks at JOLLY TIME aren’t ones to boast—which means their incredible stories haven’t always been trumpeted outside the company’s walls. After 100 years, they decided to change that. They were ready to move forward. Modernize their brand. Increase market share. Boost sales. Promote new products. Expand their digital ecosystem. And attract a wider audience of popcorn lovers in the hopes of building a community of fans loyal to JOLLY TIME for years to come.

Solution

Family and fun. That’s what Jolly Time—truly the First Family of Popcorn—is all about. Building on that platform, Haberman launched a dynamic plan to engage audiences at every turn, across all channels—from moms to college kids to empty nesters. The idea: bring to life the brand’s authentic heritage story through relevant, theme-based content. How? Through digital storytelling—in the form of a stunning new website, virtual museum and social media engagement. Through a buzz-worthy, grassroots campaign celebrating everyday heroes. By showcasing healthy new products and fun recipes—and getting the media to take notice, too. The bigger idea? Bridge the past, present and future to raise JOLLY TIME’s profile in a crowded, hyper-competitive snack market.

Tactics

Website

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Haberman transformed JOLLY TIME’s website with a responsive, mobile-friendly design, eye-catching visuals and original content that shines a light on the brand’s incredible history.

Virtual Museum

JTP_VirtualMuseumAs the oldest popcorn company in the United States, JOLLY TIME has quite the collection of memorabilia, trivia and treasures. And those pieces tell a great story about the brand’s long tradition of family and fun. Haberman curated a virtual museum, accessible through the main site, that invites visitors to dig deeper into JOLLY TIME’s heritage and showcases everything from vintage ads to the science behind popping corn.

Unplug. Pop. Connect.

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Digital engagement and family fun are at the heart of another campaign: Unplug. Pop. Connect. The idea? Less screen time, more family time. The campaign’s website invites families to create and share POP Moments—personal memories, stories and photos that highlight the joy of unplugging from technology and bonding over a JOLLY TIME snack. Coupons and prizes keep the POP Moments coming, driven by smart, targeted advertising and digital, social and influencer strategy.

Cause Campaign

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Haberman orchestrated the Kernels of Kindness campaign, a national grassroots program for which Jolly Time gave $1,000 to 100 people around the country who are bringing joy to others by doing good in their communities. More than 6,000 nominations poured in, and the winners—whose causes range from combatting bullying to pairing service dogs with veterans—are featured on the website and were pitched to the media in their respective markets. The feel-good stories not only celebrate the winners but also reflect JOLLY TIME’s all-American heritage and values.

Digital Engagement

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Haberman is expanding JOLLY TIME’s digital ecosystem to increase meaningful engagement with target consumers and drive traffic to the refreshed website and virtual museum. We developed a series of integrated digital campaigns with theme-based content, capitalizing on culturally relevant topics—from the Oscars to back-to-school time to seasons and holidays. The biggest buzz came when we tied into the Monopoly Save Your Token campaign, for which we rallied fans in support of Monopoly adding a bucket of popcorn as a game piece. In just days, we gained nearly 5,000 petition signatures on JOLLY TIME’s Facebook tab and prompted several posts by Hasbro to its more than 10 million social media followers.

Anthem Video
Haberman created a video—and shared it on all channels—to celebrate the brand’s centennial and share the memorable and meaningful stories of the JOLLY TIME family. With a warm, down-to-earth tone, the video reflects JOLLY TIME’s personality while elevating core brand values.

PR/Earned media
The centerpiece of our earned media outreach was a birthday campaign designed to get people talking about the all-American brand and its 100 years of popcorn perfection. Along with snack-filled media kits, Haberman reached out to key influencers with a steady stream of seasonal media pitches that positioned JOLLY TIME Pop Corn as the original brand of popcorn and a healthy snack choice. We also invited 10 bloggers to craft and share their original recipes for savory and sweet popcorn treats, and an additional 90 bloggers shared their favorite birthday-themed popcorn recipes on JOLLY TIME’s Virtual Birthday Party Pinterest Board.

Results

Drove online engagement through brand-relevant, theme-based content, developing a connected and diverse digital ecosystem. Interest in the virtual museum fueled increased web traffic, which is, on average, 308% higher as compared to the previous period. Web sessions (visits) increased 102%, and users (unique visitors) surged by 99%.

Secured high-profile and diverse media coverage—more than 282 million total impressions—of the JOLLY TIME brand and promotions. Stories were featured in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Epicurious, Huffington Post Business, San Francisco Chronicle, International Business Times, Daily Mail, and New York Daily News.

Got people talking—and responding to JOLLY TIME’s positive messaging. For the Kernels of Kindness campaign, our influencer partners reached more than 600,000 monthly blog and social media followers combined. Over 1,500 social media shares were generated during the campaign, and 434 engaged, on-blog discussions flourished.