Sudden surges in orders, especially around holidays, is nothing new for a third generation nut company founded by “Poppy” Sol, a hard-working 22-year-old with a can-do attitude on the brink of the Great Depression. But today, and for the past several days, nothing is business as usual for Jeffery Braverman and his family-owned business.
“On Friday we noticed a few orders coming in that looked kind of weird,” said Braverman, about the sudden run on nuts for CBS. “But then we Googled around and caught wind of some “NUTS” campaign and a few blogs had linked us as a place to buy them.”
If you are unfamiliar with the “NUTS” campaign, it is one of several grassroots efforts by the fans of the recently cancelled CBS series “Jericho.” Although Braverman was not a fan of show, he was curious about what seemed to be a growing movement across America. So he posted a small entry on his company’s blog and thousands of fans quickly demonstrated their appreciation.
“Then, the fans said they were looking for some kind of discount,” said Braverman. “So we decided to come up with a mechanism for Jericho fans to pool orders and get the most bang for their buck.”
Since responding to Jericho fans as part of the company’s long-term commitment to enthusiastic customer service (the polar opposite of how fans say they view CBS), large pooled orders being shipped to CBS have doubled and doubled again. Some customers place specific one-pound orders, but many are opting for an inventive $5 contribution.
Braverman also added a dedicated Jericho page and provides fans regular updates and a total accounting of all orders shipped to CBS.
What started as 1,000 pounds of nuts per day has steadily increased to 2,000 pounds. Today, Braverman anticipates that total might double. Given NutsOnline isn’t the only shop shipping nuts to CBS, it’s anybody’s guess how many nuts just might be stacking up in the CBS mailroom.
“We weren’t fans (of Jericho), but we are now!!!” adds Braverman enthusiastically, saying that he intends to start watching it as soon as he has a chance. “My cousin just watched a show online and he says it is great!”
Like Braverman, our team has been amazed how handfuls of fans quickly put together the largest show protest in television history. These fans are loyal, smart, self-funded, and increasingly organized. In addition to drawing from the 8 million strong Jericho fan base, they are securing fans from other shows, appealing to how those fans might feel if Heroes, Lost, or similar shows were let go like Jericho.
Within days, they’ve demonstrated better media savvy than most working public relations professionals, capturing write-ups in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, MediaWeek, and a growing number of mainstream media outlets dazzled by their commitment to save the show (not to mention the novelty of the NUTS campaign and other ideas). They’ve even raised eyebrows among some political consultants with their ability to pull together a highly motivated campaign team and employ social media better than many presidential candidates.
They’ve exhibited tremendous show loyalty, investing money that may have gone to former advertisers had the show not been cancelled. And, they are quickly learning how to organize everything from in-person protests to pricing full-page advertisements in Variety Magazine and USA Today. They’ve even encouraged some of the show’s stars to add comments on the CBS Jericho message boards — first Michael Gaston (who plays Mayor Gray) and then Brad Beyer (who plays Stanely Richmond).
In sum, there are dozens of lessons to be learned from this living case study: from the power of customer service as exhibited by NutsOnline (give customers what they want with nothing more than the hope NutsOnline will be remembered) to how social media might make an impact in an all-digital media age.
The bottom line: Jericho fans might be sending nuts to CBS, but they are hardly nuts themselves. For dozens of links to various spontaneously generated fan sites, check out our other Jericho posts here and check the tally the online petition created to save the show.