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Consumers are cashing in their chips for nuts in response to the second annual "Wonderful" pistachios Get Crackin' campaign.

A double-digit jump in sales during the fourth quarter of 2010 cemented the brand’s fourth-place position within the $12 billion salty snack category that is traditionally dominated by chips.

After eight new television spots aired from October through December in a $20 million national advertising campaign, Paramount Farms’ “Wonderful” brand pistachios experienced a 21 percent dollar sales leap on top of the company’s 233 percent increase one year ago. The refreshed Get Crackin’ advertising campaign, which officially launched during the fourth game of Major League Baseball’s 2010 World Series, expanded the humorous thematic of how everyone cracks open a pistachio in their own unique, light-hearted way.

The newest cast of pop-culture figures included infamous Illinois governor and Celebrity Apprentice star Rod Blagojevich; MTV Jersey Shore’s Nicole (Snooki) Polizzi; NFL Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver and VH-1 star Chad Ochocinco; Golden Globe Award-nominated actor and former real-life drill instructor R. Lee Ermey; stand-up comedian and actor Lewis Black; YouTube sensation Keyboard Cat; and Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts gang, which is widely considered the most popular and influential comic strip. “The success of Get Crackin’ 2.0 and the record-breaking sales figures prove pistachios are not a one-nut wonder,” Dominic Engels, vice president of global marketing at Paramount Farms, said in a Feb. 2 press release. “Our sophomore campaign exceeded all of our expectations in terms of consumer impressions, overall category sales and, most importantly, brand sales. The salty snack figure simply confirms what we already knew -- that consumers are exchanging chips and other nuts for pistachios, with demand projected to increase year-round.” To expand consumption of pistachios as a year-round snack, “Wonderful” pistachios will crack the industry-advertising ritual once again. After being the first pistachio to be advertised on television in 2009, the brand will bring back a collection of the popular spots to television in May 2011.

The projected $5 million buy is an untraditional timing for salty nut promotions. Historically, nut ads have generally been anchored to the winter holidays with festive entertaining contexts. “Even though sporting events are in full swing throughout the summer, no other nut has taken advantage of television advertising during these social snacking occasions,” Mr. Engels added in the press release. “When fans stand for a seventh inning stretch, we want them to reach for a bag of pistachios instead of other salty snacks.”