November 17, 2020

Gathering the Family Together for Noods

Tuesdays With Coleman

With all the news lately, you may have missed one of the all-time greatest examples of a brand-content mismatch.

The Kraft Macaroni & Cheese “Send Noods” campaign.

Yep, that Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The one you remember eating as a kid. The one your kids ask for by name. The brand that’s part of warm family memories around the dinner table.

The campaign encouraged consumers to visit (don’t bother, it’s gone), posts on the brand’s social media sites (they’re gone, too), and using the hashtag #sendnoods to get free boxes of Mac & Cheese to send to family and friends.

Creative and impressively designed marketing pieces includes blurred out images:

Top View Magazine Mockup by Anthony Boyd Graphics


Top View Magazine Mockup by Anthony Boyd Graphics

And a video (since deleted from Kraft’s official pages) starring former SNL cast member Vanessa Bayer laying beside the fireplace encouraging you to send noods, not nudes.

The campaign was scheduled to last from October 6th-11th, so by the time Kraft removed the content in response to outraged parents claiming they were sexualizing mac & cheese, it was already over.

So, was the campaign successful?

Kraft says they delivered over 20,000 boxes of mac. They certainly got some buzz, though it was likely limited thanks to everything else going on in the world.

For certain brands, a campaign using innuendo and double-entendres designed to surprise and grab attention makes perfect sense.

But for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese–a brand built on pretty much the opposite image–it doesn’t seem like the greatest move. On our Brand-Content MatrixSM, we’d put this campaign in the upper left quadrant. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese has an incredibly strong brand, but executed poor content out of sync with its images.

Brand Content Matrix

Brands should aim to be in the upper right quadrant of the Brand-Content Matrix.

Would they have had even greater response if, for example, they launched a campaign inviting parents to send pictures or videos of their kids saying “cheese”? If there’s one thing I know, it’s that parents love showing off their children, and that’s an example of content that’s perfectly in line with the brand. That would be in the upper right quadrant.

Kraft is a big brand, strong enough to easily move pass a branding faux pas. Not every brand would be.

Do you agree? Did Kraft miss the mark or was the campaign worth it?

2 thoughts on “Gathering the Family Together for Noods”

  1. Dave Mason

    Totally agree on this one. The spot was very well executed by Vanessa, but it raised the question “what are (is) noods?”. The word could be short for “noodles” – which is NOT what elbow macaroni is. Did you say if this was a national campaign – or a regional one. If national, 20,000 boxes ain’t much for a brand like this. It’s right up there with “New Coke” -and “Crystal Pepsi” -answering a question that no one understands.

    1. Jay Nachlis Post Author

      Thanks for the feedback, Dave! Crystal Pepsi in some ways was ahead of its time – there’s way more demand now for fewer artificial colors and ingredients – but of course the mistake was using the Pepsi name. Pepsi and Coke are brown. 7up and Sprite are clear.

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