—Brent Carlson-Lee, Founder & Owner of Eli’s Donut Burgers

Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and movie night.

Oscar Mayer hot dogs and the 4th of July.

Miller Lite and the Super Bowl.

Musselman’s apple sauce and bowling?

Call me ignorant, but until I saw this circular ad (commonly referred to as a free-standing insert, or FSI, in the brand management world) I had no idea that apple sauce and bowling were such a match made in heaven…but seriously, how in the world did they come up with this?

For the other products listed above, I understand how the product is to be used. I eat popcorn while enjoying quality family time on movie night. I eat hot dogs while grilling out during the 4th of July. I drink beer while lamenting the Vikings 3-13 season as I watch (presumably) the neighboring Packers play in the Super Bowl…but how does apple sauce fit with bowling?

Do I eat it beforehand to ensure peak performance at the alley?

Is it a healthy alternative to onion rings while bowling?

Is it a celebratory treat for my 4 year old after he handily beats his dad?

I’ll give the fine folks at Knouse Foods (owner of Musselman’s) the benefit of the doubt that they have uncovered some meaningful consumer insights – e.g. their target over-indexes on bowling. But this isn’t enough to justify the ad since the connection between apple sauce and bowling seems to be quite a stretch even in a world where brands are frequently associated with noble, yet unrelated causes such as various “green” initiatives or the Susan G. Komen foundation.

As a consumer do you expect your favorite brands to associate with activities or causes in a meaningful way? Or is this just a marketing geek’s pet peeve?