Sun-Maid recruits kids for first ‘Board of Imagination’

Dive Brief:

  • Sun-Maid this week unveiled a campaign aimed at inspiring children to nurture their creativity. The “Imagine That” effort includes a chance for parents to nominate kids ages six to 12 for a spot on its first “Board of Imagination” that will meet virtually on April 30, per an announcement.
  • At that first meeting, the board will grant employees a paid company holiday called “Imagination Day” and offer suggestions on how to use the time with activities that “enrich their thinking and enhance their creativity,” according to Sun-Maid Growers of California. Members of the board will learn more about Sun-Maid’s history, sustainability practices and operations, and provide ideas to guide company decision-making.
  • Sun-Maid’s website next month will start accepting applications from families for positions on the Board of Imagination. Each child selected for the board will receive $5,000 in a college savings grant. Sun-Maid will donate another $5,000 to each child’s school, and provide with a year’s supply of snacks, per its announcement.

Dive Insight:

Sun-Maid’s search for kids to join its Board of Imagination aims to generate social media buzz as part of a broader multichannel campaign to raise awareness for its brand of snacks made with raisins and dried fruit. The “Imagine That” effort includes a spot on national TV and activations on streaming video, social media and internet search, along with a social influencer campaign. The focus on nurturing the children’s creativity positions the brand as a provider of healthier snacks as families spend more time preparing foods at home during the pandemic. 

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“Imaginations have never been so important — new routines, ways to entertain the kids, multitask, make meals and constantly manage the requests for snacks — 2020 tested us and showed the value of creativity,” Sun-Maid president and CEO Harry Overly said in a statement. In kind with the effort’s playful tone, Overly has been named the brand’s “Chief Imagination Wrangler.”

Sun-Maid’s creation of a faux board of directors comes as a variety of brands urge people to participate in campaigns that feature appointments to fake C-suite roles, a reflection of brands’ focus on engaging their most loyal customers and turning them into brand ambassadors. Among the recent examples, Top Ramen marketer Nissin Foods in October celebrated its 50th anniversary with a search for a Chief Noodle Officer. The winner’s prizes included $10,000 in cash and 50-year supply of its noodles. AB InBev’s Bud Light Seltzer in August sought a “chief meme officer” at a pay rate of $5,000 a month to curate memes for its fledgling alcohol brand. The following month, sister brand Michelob Ultra offered to pay a “chief experience officer” a six-month salary of $50,000 to travel across the country as younger consumers sought adventure that had been denied during the pandemic.

Sun-Maid’s “Imagine That” campaign is the latest effort by the company, which represents 750 grower families with vineyards in California, to reach families. During back-to-school season, which last year was particularly tumultuous as schools offered a mix of virtual classes and teaching in classrooms, Sun-Maid rolled out a spot called “Childhood Is Always in Session” that urged parents to nurture their children with healthy snacks. The company two years ago introduced its nostalgia-themed “Grow Young” campaign, its first 360-degree marketing effort in a decade. At that time, Sun-Maid had a goal of reaching yearly sales of $100 million in five years, according to an announcement.

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