Frito-Lay is taking a crack at improving America’s favorite pastime.
The parent company of Cracker Jack (one of baseball’s most iconic snacks in the game) announced on Tuesday that it's added a rookie to its lineup. “Cracker Jill” is the brand’s newest mascot in 125 years and will take to baseball fields alongside the iconic Sailor Jack image at the start of the baseball season.
To mark the occasion, the crunchy and caramel-coated peanut and popcorn snack tapped two Black female artists.
“Motivation” singer Normani paired up with Frito-Lay to update the unofficial anthem of North American baseball (“Take Me Out to the Ball Game”) while artist Monica Ahanonu conceptualized the five new faces of the Cracker Jack team.
During an interview on TODAY, Normani emphasized that partnership has meant a lot to her as a Black woman.
“This partnership for me stands for everything that I believe in. I’m such a girls’ girl. I’m all about women empowerment,” she explained during the interview. “And for me being a little girl, I feel like this would have been really important for me. To have witnessed being a little Black girl. And I love sports. I love entertainment. And so just that representation of the fact that I can be a part of it means a lot to me.”
Normani did more than just perform a name swap for her rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game" which is traditionally played during baseball's seventh-inning stretch.
The updated song lyrics celebrate the endurance and achievements of girls in sports.
“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jill/ No one can stop you if you have the will/ So let’s root, root, root for a girl’s dream,” read some of the lines. The tail of the lyrics also received a new spin with lines like “We’re adding our face to the game/ And we’ll run, throw, with never a doubt/It’s a new, ball game.”
In addition to getting a new jingle, Cracker Jill also received the visual artwork treatment. Monica Ahanonu, described by Frito-Lay as “an expert in color theory and a trailblazer for Black artists,” created five different illustrations of Cracker Jill to show girls their skin tone, body types, and ethnicities are represented in sports.
The new mascot is already being cheered on by fans who appreciate the celebration of women in sports. Sports business reporter Darren Rovell called the role out "awesome" in a post shared on Twitter.
"Frito-Lay has rolled out Cracker Jill to accompany Cracker Jack in ballparks and I am ready to buy," one user commented about the new launch.
“These unique depictions of Jill also celebrate the remarkable diversity throughout the country,” Frito Lay explained in a statement highlighting that the five Jills were inspired by the U.S. Census Bureau’s information on the most represented ethnicities in the U.S.
The new Cracker Jill faces will make their debut right on time for the opening of the 2022 baseball season.
According to Frito-Lay they will appear on a series of special-edition bags and will be available this season in professional ballparks across the country. Fans can get their hands on the revamped bags by donating $5 or more to the Women’s Sports Foundation on CrackerJill.com. In tandem, Cracker Jack has committed $200,000 to the nonprofit charity, which was established in 1974 to encourage the involvement of women and girls in sports through research, financial aid, advocacy and community outreach.