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How Kraft Updated Macaroni & Cheese for the Twitter Age

By Mashable.com | Posted - Oct. 7, 2011 at 9:20 a.m.



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The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. The surge in smartphone use raises important issues for both marketers and media companies. IDG Global Solutions President Matthew Yorke discusses mobile developments and what they mean for marketers and media. Read more here.
At first blush, it seemed an odd pairing: Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad agency whose calling card was edgy Burger King ads featuring a King with an immobile face, and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a product best known as comfort food for kids.
Yet the two admittedly disparate parties made it work. The Kraft brand proved it could adapt to the social media age, and Crispin showed it could work its magic on any brand.
It all started in March 2010, when Kraft brought the agency on board. We were absolutely looking for a creative approach, says Noelle OMara, senior brand manager on Kraft Mac & Cheese, who dismissed the idea that the two were strange bedfellows. Over time, this brand really started to stand for kid food, but we felt everyone should feel permission to enjoy it, not just kids.
The result was a campaign themed, You know you love it, whose premise was that adults like Mac & Cheese as much as kids do. In one ad, for instance, a policeman is speaking before a class, and a kid asks what happens to people who steal. The cop says that such people go to jail. Smash cut to the kid at home with his dad. After Dad grabs some Mac & Cheese off the boys plate, cop cars appear outside the window, sirens whirring.
But a TV buy was only the beginning of the brands facelift. To really push the needle on awareness, Kraft and Crispin started heavily promoting the brand on social media

. Mac & Jinx

The brands first high profile social media push took place on Twitter in March. The choice of media and the creative theme dovetailed nicely with the You know you love it campaign. After all, Twitter is mostly a medium for adults (kids prefer Facebook) and the idea behind the campaign was based on a kids game.
Mac & Jinx, as it was known, sought two people who were tweeting something with the phrase mac & cheese in it at the same time. Once those pairs were identified, Kraft sent both a link. The first one to click on the link and give Kraft her address got five free boxes of Mac & Cheese plus a t-shirt.
The campaign, which took advantage of the real-time nature of Twitter, was considered a hit. The company credits it with boosting the brands Twitter followers by 400%, though that didnt prove to be a snowball effect (at the time of this writing, the brand has about 3,300 followers). Mac & Cheese was also able to inject itself into the conversation: At one point there were 300 mentions of Mac & Cheese per minute on Twitter, and it became a trending topic.

Mac & Cheese TV

Another audacious social media experiment challenged the creative minds at Crispin to come up with a TV spot based on a fans tweet within 48 hours.
The agency and the brand got some help from former Saturday Night Live writer and actor Bob Odenkirk and churned out 10 ads based on tweets within two days, one of which made it to TV. The stunt did for the brands Facebook Page what the previous program did for its Twitter feed it increased its membership by 400%.

Smile Tagging

Finally, in the last of the brands big social media campaigns so far this year, Mac & Cheese launched a program called Smile Tagging that sought to become the new Like button.
Smile tagging works like this: An icon on the page instructs visitors to Get the Smile Tagging button by dragging it to their browsers bookmarks bar. After thats installed, if users see anything they like on the web, they can activate the button, which uses their computers webcam to take a picture of them smiling.
That program eventually netted the brand about 13,000 users. Is that good?
OMara says shes quite pleased with the sales and social media engagement the brand has gotten through the three programs. In each case, the brand has stayed true to its identity while spreading its name in social media, which is a worthy goal for any campaign these days. Says OMara: Were really about bringing smiles to consumers. And those consumers, it seems, are both young and old.
Series supported by IDG

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Smartphones are selling very strongly making this year a turning point. The surge in smartphone use raises important issues for both marketers and media companies. IDG Global Solutions President Matthew Yorke discusses mobile developments and what they mean for marketers and media. Read more here.
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