BARRINGTON, Ill. (CBS) — A startup in north suburban Barrington has a shot at the big time, after making it as one of 20 finalists who will vie for a free Super Bowl ad.
WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports Mama Jess – an organic pasta sauce maker launched in March 2011 – aims to help families increase their daily intake of vitamins, protein, and fiber, through sauces that contain superfoods like white beans and sweet potatoes.
“We’re just trying to get more nutrition in an item that people eat probably once a week,” said founder and “Chief Mama” Jessica Grelle.
She said she came up with the idea of putting pureed vegetables in pasta sauce when her son stopped eating carrots. Her company sells three sauces at grocery stores across the country.
Mama Jess will compete with 19 other small businesses, including two others from Chicago, for a 30-second Super Bowl ad.
She said getting the ad would mean a lot, “because we are a small and new company, you know, a startup, so we don’t have a very big budget for advertising at all. So this would just be a great way to quickly get the word about our product across to the whole company.”
Just being in the contest has proved a boon to her company’s website. She said traffic has gone through the roof since Mama Jess was announced as a finalist last week.
Grelle’s family helped her produce a 90-second video to enter into the “Small Business Big Game” contest organized by software company Intuit.
“My 10-year-old is the voice of that video that we made,” she said.
Grelle said she’s checked out the competition since Intuit announced the list of finalists.
“There’s a couple food businesses, which I think is really great for us, as well as them, because consumers in general are just getting so smart about what they eat,” she said.
Intuit will announce the final four companies in the competition on Nov. 11, when the public can begin voting for a winner.