Tuesday, October 5

Advertising Laughs: Kraft Lightens Up

Years ago, before video had become a mainstream component for social media, we considered advertainment would eventually become a key ingredient for online campaigns. There have been several attempts, including the failed Bud TV concept.

But the one who might have the right just under-the-radar mix is Kraft. It recently tapped stay-at-home mom turned comedian Anita Renfroe to weave Kraft products into her routine for a series called You Gotta LOL. And although this brand of product insertion is blatant, the comedy remains authentic, relatable, embedable, and shareable.

It's also on target with the brand. When Renfroe talks about the dreamy, creamy center of an Oreo cookie, she calls it "sweet, dependable, like the perfect boyfriend." But at the same time, Kraft allows her to have fun with the creamy center as she admits to having no idea what the "stuff is."

Oreo isn't the only product. Each segment ties into a different offering from Kraft, but most aren't overt. For example, the Kraft 100 calorie packs segment never mentions the product. Renfroe just talks about her battle with weight, offering that if you are what you eat, she might eat a super model.

Why Does The Kraft Concept Work So Well?

Kraft finds the perfect balance giving people a reason to visit its Web site, but allows people to share segments anywhere they want. There is no need to control the distribution or keep people on the site longer than they want.

They succeed in framing the segments with just enough about Renfroe, product ads, and useful information, including Kraft Mobile, Kraft recipes by email, and ample connection points for a variety of products on Facebook (including one built exclusively for the comedy series). And unlike Old Spice, the campaign concept might need to be refreshed, but it is sustainable without the gimmick of interaction. We relate to the content, not the flash in the pan.

The sustainability works well because some of the bits could be played 20 years from now and still make sense (assuming the specific product is around). But more importantly, all of it sticks well within the Kraft brand, perhaps best described as iconic products that celebrate the inner child in most people.

According to Brandweek, Kraft worked with Meredith Corp.’s integrated marketing department to create 18 videos. The company has been launching one mini-episode a week with dozens of distribution points, allowing people to connect any way they want.

On that last point, Kraft also shows a level of maturity that most companies experimenting with social media do not. The embedded video above won't help its total views on YouTube, where they are also airing. Instead, Kraft chose the best video applications based on what will work with each platform.

While this strips away some social media experts' ability to claim a success story based on a singular view alone (ho hum), Kraft's measurement is better weighed by looking at the total composite of the campaign rather than a single slice like some people try to measure. And that, well, it's just smart. About the only thing that Kraft missed was tying everything together in traditional media too (but I won't count that out yet).
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