A taste of the secret sauce behind Truff’s first-ever national TV ad
The hot sauce category is heating up.
Following the launch of its first-ever out-of-home ad campaign last year, boutique condiment brand Truff is running its first national TV spot, slated to air on Monday, October 3.
The brand, which makes artisanal truffle oils and truffle-infused hot sauces that retail for up to $34.99 a six-ounce bottle, is enjoying a meteoric rise of late. What started as a popular Instagram #FoodPorn account has transformed into a full-fledged luxury condiment brand whose products are flying off shelves.
For co-founder and co-chief executive officer Nick Ajluni, the transition was a natural one: “Truff started out as a digitally-native brand and was engineered for social media,” he says. “We are known for our success in creating viral social moments that are relatable and resonate well with our audience.”
Though its sales are still dwarfed by category mainstays such as Frank’s RedHot and Tapatio, data from NielsenIQ indicates that Truff ranks first among competitors for ‘Brand Score’ – a measure of a brand’s relative strength in the category. In a category rife with budget options, Truff is tapping into consumers’ desire for a luxury option.
Now, Truff is drizzling on the fun – and ad dollars – as it guns for a bigger spot in the flourishing category, which is estimated to be worth $2.89bn in 2022, up 28% since last year.
Just enough cooks in the kitchen
Its new national TV ad was created in partnership with Fox Den LA and directed by David Ma – a food artist and filmmaker whose clients include heavy hitters like Lay’s, McDonald’s Europe and Ritz.
Featuring the tagline ‘You Can’t Get Enough Truff’, the new spot communicates the indulgence and luxury of Truff Hot Sauce – likening the product to a bottle of fine wine. It puts humor center-stage in a cheeky spin on a classic restaurant dining experience: in a western-style standoff that draws out the tension to its max, a diner refuses to ’say when’ as his server pours Truff Hot Sauce atop a steak.
Ma explains that the creative process was highly collaborative. “The team had brought the initial concept and insight to me and I came back with a few script versions, which we honed and developed together leading up to the shoot,” the director says. “Being that the creative was so based in comedy with a splash of tabletop, I brought in Fox Den LA to help us produce and execute the spot with polish, comedic timing and story.”
And Ajluni is confident that what the team produced hits all the right notes. “When thinking of the creative for the campaign, we wanted something with mass appeal that every type of shopper could relate to,” he says. “The idea behind the creative was inspired by a super awkward moment that almost everyone has experienced before, no matter your demographic. We think the spot will resonate with every type of shopper.”
TV felt like the right medium for the moment. Considering the brand’s deep roots on social media, Truff is seeking new ways to expand its brand awareness among the masses. “With availability in retailers like Costco, Kroger and Target, we are eager to test new ways to hit shoppers who may not be familiar with our digital presence,” says Ajluni. “We feel that TV is a great way to build that awareness while amplifying what we are doing digitally.”
A healthy helping of media
The ad will run on linear networks, including NFL Network, Cooking Channel, Comedy Central and Bravo, and will also air on streaming services Peacock and Paramount+. Additional media will appear on YouTube. Both linear and streaming buys will be managed by TV media and reporting firm Tatari.
“We’re excited about Tatari’s approach to TV buying as it’s extending the data-driven approach we’ve used with our social media campaigns since inception,” says Truff’s senior vice-president of e-commerce Calvin Lammers.
The brand, he explains, teamed up with impact testing firm Swayable to conduct pre-testing and analysis to inform the campaign’s creative direction and media planning. Starting Monday, Truff is running a four-week pilot of the new campaign and will measure the real-time performance of every media buy during that time. With these insights, it will adapt its targeting strategy ahead of the holidays, which Lammers says is a peak sales period for Truff.
“Knowing this was our first TV campaign and a major investment for the brand,” he says, “we needed to ensure we were running the best possible creative variants that would drive the most impact with our target audiences.”
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Agency & Production Company: Fox Den LA
Director and writer: David Ma
Director of photography: Alexander Alexandrov
Executive producers: James Toth, Richard Downie
Line producer: Brian Walsh
Food stylist: Judean Sakimoto
Asst food stylist: Joe Lazo
Prod designer: Jon Stanley
Wardrobe: Jacob Korstein
HMU: Samantha Klein
Editor: Tommy Button
Colorist: Katherine Fox, Fox Color Lab
Sound designer: Mat Guido, SoundsLike
Diners: Ben Holtzmuller, Jhordan Munn
Waiter: Tanner Perry