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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Colbert’

Lettuce and beets growing. Photo by Christa Richert, taken from stock.xchng

Triscuit and Kraft want you to start a community garden.

I think I’m the target audience for Triscuit’s Home Farming campaign ads. They keep popping up during my Food Network shows and in my Real Simple magazine. Or maybe they pop up everywhere, including places I wouldn’t see them like ESPN and car magazines, but I like to group myself in the foodie demographic and I hope marketers do too. Anyway, I wanted to learn more about the campaign and have since learned several things:

  1. Triscuit, a product of Kraft Foods, has teamed up with the non-profit Urban Farming to grow 50 community farms across the country.
  2. It has also launched a website encouraging consumers to plant their own gardens. The site includes instructions and tips for growing ingredients at home.
  3. Though Triscuit is contributing to a good cause, local gardening and sustainability, people have noticed that the corporation behind the campaign is potentially part of the reason the home gardening movement has grown so much over the years.

Counterproductive cracker campaign

This post by Laura Mathews on Punk Rock Gardens, a community gardening blog out of Pennsylvania, questions Triscuit’s and Kraft Foods’ motives. While the Home Farming campaign promotes home gardening and local eating, it is still being presented by Kraft Foods, a major producer of processed and prepackaged food. Mathews says Kraft is attempting to use this campaign to position its products as containing real ingredients, ignoring the fact that they’re really full of unnatural additives. She writes:

OK, it’s nice that a big company believes there a lot of interest in growing food. Enough interest, actually, that they want to grab on and join the gravy train.  BUT, what I understand about the people who are taking back control of their food supply, is that they –we- became interested in growing food because we lost faith in the quality of food produced by companies like Kraft.

If you’re interested, read the rest of her post. It’s really good and it brings up a lot of great points.

Fried chicken and salad. Photo by Rob Owen-Wahl, taken from stock.xchng

Does eating fried chicken on top of lettuce make it healthier? What about eating it when the proceeds contribute to curing cancer?

Colbert’s conclusion

The whole idea of large corporations launching campaigns attempting to solve problems they may have contributed to reminded me of this utterly fantastic clip from the Colbert Report in April (seriously, watch it if you have time- it’s great. Skip to 1:13 to get right to the campaign part). In it, Colbert discusses how people were questioning KFC’s Buckets for the Cure campaign.

During the campaign, KFC donated 50 cents for each pink bucket of chicken sold to the Susan G. Komen for the cure, the non-profit that raises money for breast cancer research. However, as Colbert mentions in the clip, many people were upset at the idea of promoting the sale and consumption of unhealthy fried chicken to raise money for an organization that is working to save women’s lives.

He has his own theory on what to do to remedy KFC’s potential hypocrisy. I have my own. KFC, Kraft and all other corporations and organizations should think about what their campaigns say about their brands before they launch them. And consumers should consider what matters most to them: that companies are helping to solve problems when their products cause other ones or that the companies are helping at all.

Craving comments

So what do you think? Should people just appreciate these corporate campaigns for the help they’re supplying others? Or should we question the motives (and profit) behind them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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B.L.T. sandwich from stock.xchng, taken by John Evans

Hellmann's or Miracle Whip: Which do you prefer on your B.L.T.?

Condiments were flying during the mayo and mayo-alternative food fight that ensued this week. Hellmann’s launched a holiday campaign emphasizing the product’s “real” ingredients. Meanwhile, Miracle Whip, the Kraft brand sandwich spread that prides itself on having more “zip” than mayo, was in a full-on war with Stephen Colbert over its “don’t be so mayo” commercials.

Hellmann’s campaign

I first heard about the Hellmann’s Real Holiday Helpings campaign when Bobby Flay tweeted from its launch event Friday (yes, although I feel nerdy admitting it, I do follow Bobby Flay on Twitter). The campaign involves videos of Flay creating dishes using mayo, holiday recipes, behind-the-scenes videos exclusive to Hellman’s fans on Facebook and a chance for consumers to win a year’s supply of groceries.

The idea of “real food” is a key message of the Real Holiday Helpings campaign. Flay’s videos feature him demonstrating how to make the five recipes he created using Hellmann’s products. He uses the phrase “it’s all real food” at least once in each video and explains that Hellmann’s is made of eggs, oil and vinegar. Each video ends with the Hellmann’s logo above the tagline “It’s Time for Real.”

Miracle Whip vs. Colbert

On October 15’s “Colbert Report,” Stephen Colbert drew attention to Miracle Whip’s most recent commercials featuring the term “don’t be so mayo.” Colbert took great offense to the advertisements and proclaimed that he is pro-mayo, then showed his own spoof commercial for mayonnaise. Miracle Whip retaliated by taking out a full-page ad in various newspapers serving as an open letter to Colbert. The memo was written in a humorous tone and announced that Miracle Whip had purchased ads during every commercial break of Thursday’s “Colbert Report.”

Think about it, Mr. Colbert. In a sense, we will own you. We’re on a mission. We’re taking no prisoners. We’re raising Hell, man.

Miracle Whip proceeded to air several versions its commercials addressed to Colbert. One invited him to “come over to the other side where all is sweet and tangy.” Another explained the talk show host’s “vicious attack” on Miracle Whip to viewers:

During Thursday’s episode, Colbert addressed the situation:

Well Miracle Whip, I know when I’ve been bested. Thank you for buying ad time on my show because let’s face it. Revenue is down throughout the television industry and I could certainly use the money to buy more delicious mayonnaise.

Needless to say, fans of both products and of Colbert took stances on the issue and voiced their opinions online. Miracle Whip’s Facebook page wall is covered in comments (both negative and positive) about the Colbert feud. Chrissy Dunham wrote:

The marketing was pure genius all around! I never even paid attention to the add or took much stock into Colbert’s comments until Miracle Whip struck back! (By the way, the original adds were no where near as stupid some others I’ve seen recently.) And for those of you who think Colbert is somehow upset by such stupid …banter…Have you ever WATCHED his show? This is exactly the thing he thrives on! A tad idiotic, yet ultimately clever comebacks. It wouldn’t surprise me if they planned this stunt together – Either way, I thank you both Colbert and Miracle Whip for my fair share of entertainment this evening!

Battle for publicity

Though Hellmann’s holiday campaign launch is unattached to the Colbert/Miracle Whip feud, I believe it is somewhat related to Hellmann’s desire to compete with Miracle Whip in the mayo market. By getting a highly respected celebrity chef like Bobby Flay to endorse its products and by continuously pointing out that it uses all real ingredients (a jab at Miracle Whip?), Hellmann’s seems to be reminding consumers that it makes a superior product.

As for Miracle Whip, Thursday’s move was a creative and entertaining marketing stunt that fit its brand image well. Though it elicited many negative comments from consumers, it mostly drew attention to its product in a big way. Miracle Whip’s marketing team showed America how the spread differs from “boring” mayonnaise (implying Hellmann’s) and made it easy for fans of both products to take sides.

Perhaps Hellmann’s wasted their time hiring Bobby Flay… Stephen Colbert was willing to act as spokesman the entire time.

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