Kraft: Saying “Goodbye” to 1941 and “Hello” to 2014
In 2014, they are known for their use of digital and social media to attract today’s consumers and the coveted demographic, millennials. The Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” contest-winning ‘Time Machine’ commercial is ingrained in our collective consciousness and resonates long after the big game.
Now, Kraft, an iconic American brand, is trying to join these digital trailblazers by increasing its social and digital media presence beyond disseminating recipes on their Facebook page and cooking tips on Twitter. In order to reinvent its brand to appeal to more millennials, Kraft is adapting to the ways in which millennial consumers are changing the food retail industry.
In 2013, after altering the corporate culture to be more like a start-up, increasing their digital presence and number of online conversations with consumers Kraft introduced a new Spicy Jalapeño-flavored Philadelphia Cream Cheese to promote an adventurous and affordable flavor experience. The cream cheese brand has its own Tumblr promoting the variety of flavors in its product suite.
In May, Kraft harnessed the power of Facebook to advertise its rebranding of A.1. Sauce from the formerly A.1. “Steak” Sauce, as Kraft believed it to be limiting consumers’ purchase of the product for just steak. Their You Tube video parodies this separation of A.1. Sauce and steak by playing on a common millennial tendency; A.1. Sauce ends its “In a Relationship” Facebook status and begins accepting new friend requests. To date, the video has garnered more than 1.3 million views on You Tube and the product’s sales growth has rapidly increased.
Spicy Jalapeño Philadelphia Cream Cheese appeals to what millennials are all about: the desire to interact with food and the quest for exciting flavors to heighten their culinary experience. Kraft’s A.1. Sauce Facebook video makes this campaign idea accessible and sharable, generating buzz among consumers. The video promotion is very relatable for millennials, many of whom are avid Facebook users, and enjoy the power to participate in the brand’s success by sharing the video with others.
According to BAV data, Kraft’s Relevance remains in the 99+ percentile of brands in the BAV BrandScape among millennials, but Energized Differentiation, the leading indicator of overall brand health in our study, has increased dramatically since 2012. From 2010 to 2012, Kraft’s Energized Differation was “middle of the road” until it experienced considerable gains in 2013, when it became more differentiated than 84% of brands.
When looking at the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand, its Energized Differentiation slowly increased from 2011 to 2013 and then shot up 24 percentile points to be more differentiated than 83% of brands in the first half of 2014. The brand’s effort to be more current and attractive to millennials is obviously being recognized, as Fun and Innovative are now in its top ten attributes out of the 48 brand attributes that BAV applies to brands.
In the first half of 2014, millennials most strongly associated the Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand with brands like Droid, Sony, Ford, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, and Whole Foods - all very modern and engaging brands. A.1. Sauce’s Energized Differentiation declined from 2011 through 2013, yet in the first half of 2014 it increased 6 percentile points to be more differentiated than 70% of brands. In tandem with the release of the A.1. Sauce rebranding video, the uptick in Energized Differentiation suggests that the increased digital presence may really be effective.
While it may be too soon to know if Kraft’s reinvigorated marketing efforts, including a rebranding initiative, are creating new relationships with millennial consumers, Kraft certainly understands how to engage millennials and that traditional advertising tactics are no longer going to cut it.
Kraft’s strategic digital presence has led to increases in sales, awareness, and likely a positive trend in its Energized Differentiation. Time will tell if Kraft’s commitment to reinventing its brand and to digital and social media marketing, which will account for 50% of its budget by 2016, will solidify millennials as true “brand ambassadors,” but the near future looks promising and, coming from a millennial, the new A.1. Sauce sounds worth forging a relationship with!