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Special Project

Special Project
From the 14th Annual Shorty Awards

“Thiz iz Peelz” - John Birk

Entered in Short Form Video


Peelz is a family owned business that has been a key player in the citrus industry for years. In fact, three generations of the Parnagian family have been growing, packing and supplying mandarin oranges for the most well known names in the industry and grocery aisles, and now they have decided to go out on their own.


As the brand in town looking to switch some things up, the ask from Peelz was to come up with an idea that achieves 4 goals: 1) steals share away from their main competitors Halo and Cuties; 2) Drives engagement by telling a unique story; 3) build brand awareness amongst adults and 4) boosts buyers confidence by getting them excited about the (re)introduction of the brand. 

After researching the category, the consumer and the culture, we were able to pinpoint one unique way in: Simplicity. 

We set out to show the world that snacktime is simple and the last thing anyone wants is too overthink it. Just peel, then eat.


Strategy and Execution

Peelz’ is a classic story of elevation of a brand in a commodity category, a narrative that not only establishes a differentiated brand strategy in a highly competitive landscape but amplifies consumer awareness and buyer confidence. It’s a story of owning a compelling idea that (re) introduces brand Peelz by speaking to the adult consumer and aligning with their life, lifestyle and worldview.


Part of our strategic process for brand re(introduction) and / or re-invention is to establish an Enduring Belief, which we define as the “change in the world a brand believes in relentlessly pursuing.” The process in getting to this strategic foundation starts with inputs, analysis, and insights from the 3C’s, but almost more importantly it relies on filtering all of this through a brand’s DNA. We do this to ensure the answer we get to be just relevant to the consumer, differentiating to the category or impactful in culture, but that it is enduring for the brand. It has to be true and it has to be lasting.


We commenced on this journey of developing the enduring belief, by developing a deeper understanding of ‘snacking’ as a ritual; A ritual that is emotionally rich and is associated with feelings of nostalgia and self-reward finding its place in ‘me time’ and in ‘we time’ routine. Additionally, these snacking moments have become richer as the pandemic exacerbated the always-on digital lives triggering a need for down time for families to connect over snacks; or a bubble of relief for individuals amongst zoom calls as the 9-5 days slowly evolved into 9-9 days. Snacking has quickly positioned itself as a simple ritual in this not so simple routine. It created space for much needed downtime against the background of a pandemic, the extraordinary reset that encouraged people to re-prioritize and shift away from impeccable glossy lives to authentic, simple expressions that cuts through the façade of perfectionism. This learning led us to our Enduring belief – ‘We believe snacking should be simple and unapologetic’. And the campaign ‘Thiz iz Peelz’ does the job of bringing it to life by positioning Peelz as the simple and unpretentious snack. Because we all know life is complex, but snacking doesn’t have to be.


By introducing John Birk to the world, we juxtapose the simplicity of snack time itself with a man whose mission it is to teach the world a lesson that no one needs to learn. Mandarins are simple, John is the perfect foil to bring that to life by showing that no one should spend too much time thinking about them. By using a playful choir as our narrator, we hammer that message home while snack-shoppers go about their business of shopping for snacks, and nothing more. In the end, you get the sense that even John understands the simplicity of a Peelz mandarin.


Since the campaign launch in late November, John Birk has made his way into the hearts of consumers through Broadcast, Social, Digital, and OOH channels. We achieved each of the campaign goals with great success. 


  1. Brand Share increased 5% YTD and was the only brand with gains. 

  2. Engagement rates in social were significant at 19.4%, outperforming the social benchmark of 1%.

  3. Awareness - Brand awareness lift was positive and even outperformed Facebook’s North American benchmark by 34%.

  4. Buyer Confidence was boosted resulting in the addition of 12 new retail partnerships and a 24% increase in the number of stores selling Peelz mandarins.

              (Source: Nielsen’s insights weeks 11/27 - 12/18)



Video for “Thiz iz Peelz” - John Birk

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Venables Bell + Partners, Peelz Mandarins

Entry Credits