“Is marketing the art of tricking people into buying stuff they don’t need? Or is it about spreading ideas that people fall in love with?“- Seth Godin
The above is a question Seth posed way back in 2005.
It seems as if Kraft is in the camp that believes marketing is about tricking people.
Kraft is introducing a new salad dressing product aimed at kids: Kraft Salad “Frosting.” However, the product is just Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing disguised in a frosting container.
Here’s part of the press release announcing the “new” product:
“According to a recent study, Ranch dressing is the most popular dressing in the United States, and kids will eat anything with frosting, right? It’s a match made for dinnertime bliss. Now, convincing children to eat salad, broccoli and carrots may be a whole lot easier. Just add Kraft Salad ‘Frosting.’”
Even worse than trying to trick kids into thinking that the dressing is a frosting, is the promotional campaign Kraft is launching to go along with the product rollout.
Kraft is having a contest to give families a chance to win free samples of its “frosting.” The brand is asking parents to share the best lies they’ve told their kids with the Twitter hashtags #LieLikeAParent and #contest. The 1,500 winners will be determined based on likes and originality.
“Innocent lies parents tell their kids help alleviate the pressures of everyday parenting, and if it gets kids to eat their greens, so be it,” Kraft head of marketing Sergio Eleuterio said in the press release. “Simple innocent lies are not only part of parenthood, but a true tactic used by parents everywhere. Kraft Salad ‘Frosting’ is one lie you won’t feel bad telling your kids.”
There’s even a video to go with the promotional campaign:
If I had read this story on April 1, I would have thought it was a pretty good April Fools’ Day prank. But it’s a real thing, and it almost leaves me speechless.
How could such a product idea get approved?
And once the product idea got approved, how did such a promotional campaign get approved.
I’m sure there were multiple levels of approval needed, and to think these ideas successfully made it through such a process is stunning.
I doubt if Kraft is really concerned if kids are eating more salads; the company just wants to sell as much salad dressing as it can.
And there’s nothing wrong with such a goal; that’s what the company does.
But how they go about doing that matters; the ends do not justify the means.
Do you really want to base a promotional campaign around parents lying to their kids?
Shame on Kraft.