Valentine’s Day is typically a holiday for chocolates and champagne — but Squirrel Brand hopes its Ruby Royale nuts can also be synonymous with the day of love.
The 133 year-old snack brand tapped “RuPaul’s Drag Race” star Latrice Royale to push that message, while “serving body, beauty, luxury and all these ... nuts.”
Squirrel worked with agency Huge on the campaign, which aimed to grow recognition for the heritage nut mix brand among consumers aged 25 to 40. Squirrel Brand released a new nut blend, Ruby Royale, to “gatecrash” the typical Valentine’s Day confectionary treats.
“When we were looking at it, there's an analogy with love,” Mick Sutter, executive creative director of Huge, told Campaign US. “It's really complex. It's not super sweet or saccharin, it's not simple. Valentine's Day tends to be reductive when it comes to love. We really wanted to open up that aperture.”
While brainstorming ideas, Huge’s creative team realized that the name “Ruby Royale” sounded similar to the name of famous drag queen, Latrice Royale. The collaboration was the perfect fit for Royale, whose famous catchphrase “get those nuts away from my face,” became a fan favorite on the show “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
The creative campaign, titled “Latrice Royale for Ruby Royale,” features Royale in a series of spots wearing rhinestones and a custom pink dress while sharing her philosophy on love.
“This year, I’m my own Valentine. Because you know who loves me more than me? Nobody,” she says in one clip.
Royale also dishes advice on feeding your booty calls after they come over and skipping old school greeting cards while challenging viewers to “get these nuts in your face.”
The campaign, which runs until February 15, also includes a social media takeover by Royale of Squirrel Brand’s Instagram and Facebook accounts with sassy commentary, fan giveaways and video content.
Filming took place in Nashville, Tennessee, with a skeleton crew, who abided by COVID-19 safety guidelines including testing, sanitizing and social distancing.
Royale said the collaboration was a “dream” and resulted in an “overwhelming” response from her fans, who were excited to see their favorite drag star in the campaign.
When looking for influencers, Huge always looks for people who are important to the brand’s target audience, Sutter said.
The campaign is the latest example of brands recognizing drag queens as influencer potential; “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has produced a number of famous queens that started on the Emmy-winning series and have branched into influencer marketing. Tazo tapped Alyssa Edwards for a campaign in 2018, Monet X Change appeared in a 2019 Pepsi ad and RuPaul starred in Old Navy’s recent holiday rollout.
“There used to be a lot of stigma about drag queens, and the gay community in general,” Royale said. “And to be able to alleviate some of those misconceptions so that we are [seen as] approachable, that we are human, we have a sense of humor, and we are great people who can sell nuts, definitely is inspiring."