Some things just refuse to be updated: The NBC peacock, highball glasses, the Dudley Moore Arthur. Also, the "food product" known as Miracle Whip. But that's not stopping parent company Kraft from trying to make this long-time brand relevant and cool again.
"Do You Take This Condiment?" asked the full-page ad placed by Kraft Foods Global Inc. in the country's largest newspapers this week. The ad went on to read:
We are gathered here to tell you that you could win $25,000 towards your wedding (congratulations!) or your divorce (congratulations!).
All you have to do is create video with your significant other that impresses our judges and tells how Miracle Whip impacts your relationship. We know we're not for everyone, so sometimes we can start trouble. Or become the catalyst of a storybook romance. Then upload your video to miraclewhip.com to begin the judge impressing.
Disclaimer: I grew up in a Miracle Whip household. Worse, we tended to refer to it as "mayonnaise." Once someone brought Hellman's home and the jig was up, we began parsing what exactly was so miraculous about Miracle Whip. This is exactly the sort of debate good Catholics loved 40 years ago, when the threshold for real miracles was a bit higher.
But it turns out that Kraft is looking for a little miracle of its own. Big brands in its portfolio like Macaroni & Cheese and its Athenos hummus line have been on the decline -- and Kraft told The Wall Street Journal that Miracle Whip sales have been down 5 percent a year for many years, with most recent annual retail sales of more than $260 million, excluding sales at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which doesn't supply such data.
A feisty Greek grandmother hawking the Athenos line has reportedly become a YouTube sensation and is credited with pushing sales higher. The Miracle Whip video contest is part of the same strategy to arrest the sales erosion and use social media (newsprint ads notwithstanding) to engage customers and get them talking and making videos about a brand they love (or loathe).
As promotions go, I don't think a video contest is particularly original or compelling. But I'll give Kraft credit here: This sure beats the heck out of a bake-off where the dish has to use Miracle Whip as an ingredient, or a chatroom that invites the MW faithful to reminisce about their favorite ways to inflict that gelatinous goop on unsuspecting guests ("So spreadable!" "So airy and light.")
No, none of that. Instead, both fans and detractors will have a shot at 25 G's to to pay for a wedding -- or a divorce. The WSJ quotes a Kraft exec as saying "We've seen Twitter posts about how people have broken up over this." Of course they have.
There's only about four weeks left to shoot your condiment video -- the Miracle Whip contest ends Aug. 23. Me, I'll probably wait for the Heinz 57 testimonial campaign or maybe something more upscale like the Grey Poupon "Like" fest. It's high time those brands got a refresh, too.
— Terry Sweeney , Editorial Director, DeusM, publisher of The CMO Site