KD Re-injects the 'Fun!' into Hard Times
Bob Dylan once said, ‘Nostalgia is death.’ It’s also a tired if dependable purchase trigger tool when advertising and marketing a long established or heritage brand. Manipulating memory for profit can be a tricky wicket.
In the current business climate even positive and reliable results religiously under-whelm the insanely high pie-in-the-sky expectations of industry analysts on Bay and Wall Streets. The madness trickles down to head offices. Retailers rapidly over-expand. Burger joints hawk granola on their backlit menus. Entrenched brands launch illogical extensions to briefly exploit short-lived consumer manias. It’s as if business has embraced our celebrity-obsessed culture’s fixation with aspirational entitlement. Success, steady, staid, tried-and-true just doesn’t cut it anymore. The sleek hare has won the proverbial race.
Kraft Canada is shocked, shocked that not everyone in this great country eats Kraft Dinner regularly. The brand was introduced to North Americans in 1937 and has long been a reflex purchase for families with youngsters and students everywhere. The new campaign targets a universal demographic, adults everywhere. The hook is that KD was fun to eat as a kid and wasn’t childhood a blast? ‘The biggest reason why consumers haven’t eaten us in a while is because they haven’t thought about us in a while,’ KD brand director Kristen Eyre last week told The Globe and Mail using an unfortunate choice of words.
My mother couldn’t make KD without her gag reflex kicking in. The moment she tore open the envelope of orange powdered cheese, Ack! During those low budget days in university KD was a necessary evil. Some students used to smother their mounds of it in ketchup and throw in a sliced, boiled wiener. Ack! Like the poetry of Jim Morrison and tinned spaghetti, KD is a childish thing and best left back there with the fading crinkle cut family snapshots. There are good reasons why adults won’t eat KD and we all hope economic circumstances beyond our control don’t force this bogus staple back into our diets.
According to Ms. Eyre ‘It is simply not enough any more to tell consumers what you think they should do.’ Thus the campaign also contains an unintentional element of comedic irony. Experiential advertising is the new black. It is the industry’s attempt to cut through its own self-perpetuated clutter. So consumers can interact with the KD brand on a human scale rather than through social media inside of pop-up kiosks. Think of a slightly dodgy carnival game with KD branded prizes – Funderpants! No, really. (Insert your own noodle or God forbid, cheese themed adult content here.) She continues, ‘It is all about creating experiences.’