Dominatrix, Levi Johnston Sex Up Pistachios
New commercials hope to erase recall stigma
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2009 2:55 PM CDT
A screenshot from one particularly suggestive ad for Wonderful Pistachios.
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(Newser) – Can sex sell nuts? Pistachio growers sure hope so. With sales off more than 20% following last year’s nationwide recall, they’ve launched a risqué $15 million ad campaign. How risqué? In one ad, a real-life dominatrix cracks open a pistachio with a whip, USA Today reports. Another observes that teen dad Levi Johnston “does it with protection”—referring to how he cracks open pistachios, naturally.

“We want to get some sizzle out there,” says a marketing VP for one pistachio grower. The ads are specifically designed to create “chatter on the Internet,” he explains. Advertisers have even offered a $25,000 contest for home-grown YouTube commercials. The stakes are high; pistachios have never been advertised on TV before. “We have a blank canvas,” says the VP. “We have to earn a right to be on the shopping list.”