The 125-year-old Cracker Jack brand is one of America’s most iconic snacks in American baseball. Even its name is embedded in baseball’s historic anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” (with the lyrics: “And buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack…”). The ballad is still sung before the 7th inning at Major League Baseball games today.
But a lot has changed since the 19th century. Despite Cracker Jack’s sale in concession stands and decades of tradition, a new generation of American families and children were largely unfamiliar with its storied legacy. Cracker Jack had become a very mature brand. Yet, we saw a chance to renew America’s love affair with the snack and restore its nostalgic luster.
We saw our ideal moment in time amidst the changing world of sports. Despite inclusionary laws being passed (including Title IX in the U.S. over 50 years ago), the path to progress for female athletes has been slow, with access and inclusion vastly trailing their male counterparts in most sports, including baseball.
Fast forward to today. After decades of occasional wins and relentless drive, the movement of women in sports was accelerating, with more stories of equality and achievement making headlines.
So, we approached Frito-Lay with a provocative idea: Let’s connect with a new generation and champion the strides being made by women in sports by adding a Cracker Jill to the roster to celebrate this inclusionary change. The brand’s longstanding connection to baseball would provide the natural springboard.
Our idea to launch Cracker Jill was fueled by a simple truth: “Sometimes all it takes to believe you can do something is to see someone who looks like you do it first.” For Frito-Lay, that meant having its most storied mascot – 125-year-old Sailor Jack – make room for Cracker Jill, and a team of strong, diverse female faces on packaging designed to celebrate the women and girls inspiring and leading the change.
It also meant the opportunity to inclusively rewrite America’s legendary baseball anthem, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” and encourage fans to “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jill” and “root, root, root for a girl’s dream.” To fuel a social media campaign, we wrote new lyrics to the iconic 7th inning sing-a-along to transform it into an anthem of inspiration for girls and enlisted A-list recording artist Normani to record an empowering music video highlighting the athletic achievements of girls and women throughout sports – and share it with her fans..
Not only would Cracker Jill symbolically champion a new day for aspiring female athletes, but we’d make the new product available in every baseball stadium throughout the MLB 2022 season beginning on Opening Day. Girls could now see themselves on packages of Frito-Lay’s iconic stadium snack.
Cracker Jill earned a grand slam with media and fans — all without an MLB sponsorship. In just the first two weeks around Opening Day (April 7, 2022), the campaign garnered 9.2 billion earned impressions across 1,127 media outlets, including 24 national stories in top-tier media like TODAY Show with Hoda and Jenna, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, GMA.com and People. Our Jills were also celebrated on 251 local TV newscasts.
The 2022 MLB baseball season promotion was so successful that plans are the works to roll out Cracker Jill at retail nationally by the end of 2023.
Our five diverse depictions of Jills have proved that representation is vital and representation matters.