Thursday, October 11, 2012

Miracle Whipped

Last week, Kraft Foods became two companies, Kraft Foods Group, which focuses on the duddy old grocery store business, and the far more glamorously named Mondelez, which is in the snack food biz.

The good news for the folks who got to stay with Mondelez: they’ve been growing about 30% a year over the past few, pushing what people want: Oreos, Cadbury Egg Cremes, Dentyne. 

Those who got spun out as Kraft are in a group that’s been on the losing end of market share and is:

…saddled with a portfolio of aging brands in need of freshening as it confronts potent rivals and rising commodity costs…starting life with a handicap: years of underinvestment in new products and marketing. (Source: Bloomberg.)

Interesting looking at what went where. While Mondelez are the snacksters, Kraft kept Koo-Aid and Mr. Peanut. (How is Mr. Peanut not a snack?)

In any case,there’s some good news for Kraft marketers, as the company is looking to retool and pump new life into old standby brands like Oscar Mayer, Miracle Whip, Planters, Jell-o, Kraft, and  - who even knew they still made it – Velveeta?

When I was growing up, there weren’t all that many kinds of cheese to choose from – at least not at the Morris Market.

You had your American. You had your cream cheese, which was used in our house to make a cracker spread that contained maraschino cherries and crushed pineapple. You had your “chive cheese”, which came in little glass jars that turned into juice glasses. And you had Velveeta, which came in bricks, and which my brother Tom was addicted to. (Question: Is Velveeta really cheese, or is it a processed cheese-like product?)

Another cheesy product that Kraft owns is, of course, Kraft Mac & Cheese, which I will admit to having I do always manage to have a box or two of Annie’s version on my shelf. I prefer Annie’s if  for no other reason that you can get it with the white powdered cheddar, vs. the orangey yellow.

Another old-school brand that Kraft owns is Jell-O, which:

… is an example of a brand that needs a turnaround.

Sorry, but a brand that needs a turnaround probably doesn’t need the Jell-O mosaic bar staring them in the face when you go to their web site:

Jello Mosaic Bar

This doesn’t exactly scream brand refresh to me. 

And the tagline for Jell-o pudding may be a refresh:


But to me it sounds like a promo for Bachelor Millionaire. (Hey, baby, for a good time, Derek is smooth, rich, and available…)

Perhaps the Jell-O site doesn’t have its new mojo fully on just yet.

There’s also news about Cool Whip:

Kraft is also adding Cool Whip frosting to the frozen foods aisle.

What a breakthrough! Next time I’m at Whole Foods, I’ll be running my cart right after it.

By the way, I would have thought that Cool Whip went out of business after my mother died. (I do miss having the Cool Whip containers around. They weren’t exactly Tupperware, but they could go a few rounds once the Cool Whip had been consumed.)

Overall, Kraft doesn’t appear to have found its spark divine quite yet, as you can tell from its home page:

Kraft home page

That mac and cheese looks like it was made in 1903. And what’s up with that Oscar Meyer wiener mobile with the pickle wheels? Hot diggity dog, that looks hip and current. Think I’ll make up a batch tonight. Vroom!

Miracle Whip is another of the Kraft brands.

Now, although it is my husband’s “mayo” of choice, my stomach churns at the very thought of Miracle Whip. Yet I will give them props for their ad campaigns. I thought the one last year that played off the two type of people in the world – those who like Miracle Whip and those who don’t – was pretty good.

And I really like their Scarlet Letter ad.

Arthur Dimmesdale maybe, but Hester Prynne?

I suspect the literary allusion is lost of a lot of the Miracle Whip audience, but this is a really funny ad. Not enough to get me to – gag – use MW. Enough that I have to let it co-exist in our fridge with my beloved Hellman’s. (Really, is there any other mayonnaise? I know, I know, I’m a New Englander. I’m supposed to like Cain’s. But I’m a Hellman’s girl, all the way.)

I do think that Kraft has their brand challenges cut out for them, with their unglamorous, old-fashioned brands. Not that it will take a miracle, exactly…

I do hope that they have some fun, doing for Jell-o and Cool Whip what they’re doing with Miracle Whip. Won’t get me to buy, but the ads will be enjoyable. Meanwhile, aside to Jell-O: do something, anything about that Mosaic Mold. Sheesh.

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