Saturday, November 6, 2010

How Philly Cream Cheese Gave Its Flat Sales a Kick

Interactive Web Campaign Helps Kraft Product's Sales Soar

CHICAGO ( -- If you're having a hard time growing sales for a mature brand, here's an idea: Give your most-loyal consumers reason to use it more. It's worked for Kraft, which has posted solid sales gains on Philadelphia Cream Cheese, a brand that had been essentially flat since 2005. 

A web campaign that featured Food Network star Paula Deen talked up new uses for Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
A web campaign that featured Food Network star Paula Deen talked up new uses for Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

By encouraging uses beyond bagel spread and cheesecake ingredient Kraft boosted Philly sales 8% since the campaign launched last September. Not bad for a brand that's done $720 million in sales over the last 52 weeks in the U.S. alone.

"We are very encouraged with what we've been able to get done," said Howard Friedman, VP-marketing in Kraft's cheese and dairy businesses. "A lot of it has been done by trial and error."

Also helping was seriously stepped-up advertising support: Kraft more than doubled measured-media spending on Philly last year, according to Kantar Media, to $20 million from $8 million in 2008.

The spots, featuring the catchy if not insidious "Spread a Little Love" jingle (also available as a ringtone), depict consumers adding Philly to a variety of dishes. Mr. Friedman said Kraft started with some quick "how-to" videos last spring, teaching consumers how to use the brand in dips and alfredo sauce. The resulting 250,000 downloads was overwhelming, given it hadn't received a major ad push and was seeded only on the Kraft website. The marketer tasked then-new agency McGarryBowen, Chicago, to develop the campaign around usage occasions.

Then Kraft enlisted Paula Deen. Together with Digitas and Eqal, a social-entertainment company, Kraft developed a promotion called "The Real Women of Philadelphia," a video contest to find the best consumer-generated recipes using Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

Ms. Deen introduced the contest on YouTube -- a video that's gotten 10 million views -- and Kraft launched a website where consumers can upload their video entries. There are a series of instructional clips, including tips for cooking videos and how to dress for TV. Since launching in late March, the site has had 550,000 unique visitors and there have been 3,600 recipe submissions. Kraft estimates total impressions at 97 million.

Next up, Philly will whittle its entries to a list of 16 finalists -- four each making a dessert, side, entrée or appetizer -- to participate in a cook-off in Savannah on June 30. The winner gets $25,000 and her own web series. Kraft will also tap its finalists to help assemble a consumer-generated cookbook, featuring even more things to do with cream cheese. 

P&G's Marc Pritchard Touts Value of PR

Says Future of Marketing Is Directly Tied to Growth of Industry

At the Council of Public Relations Firms Critical Issues Forum held here today, Marc Pritchard, global marketing and brand building officer at P&G, told the packed auditorium of PR professionals and corporate communications heads that the future of marketing is inextricably linked to the future and growth of PR.

P&G works with a number of PR shops including Omnicom Group's Porter Novelli, Publicis Groupe's MSLGROUP, Interpublic Group of Cos.' DeVries Public Relations, as well as independent shops Taylor, Paine PR and Marina Maher Communications.

Mr. Pritchard described how PR was essential to the success of four of P&G's biggest marketing campaigns this year, including its Winter Olympics effort, the Head & Shoulders Troy Polamalu campaign, the Cover Girl and Ellen DeGeneres partnership and, of course, the Old Spice Smell Like a Man, Man phenomenon.

"These campaigns were all amplified by PR," Mr. Pritchard said. "PR was able to give our big ideas a megaphone that we used to spur participation that helped lead to spontaneous combustion. PR is going to grow its impact on the future of P&G marketing because it is a great amplifier, builds relationships and invites consumer participation."

Consumer participation became an issue for P&G earlier this year when the Pampers Dry Max diapers crisis exploded in the social-media realm. Mr. Pritchard said the company learned some valuable lessons and more about the value of PR during the crisis.

"I'm not sure our first shots were well aimed," he said. "Our response was pretty standard and it fell flat. Things started shifting for the better when we took a more empathetic approach. We started listening and responding to moms and that started to diffuse everything. We went from listening to hearing, and when you hear something you internalize it and build empathy. The brand will be stronger because of what it went through."

The PR industry, ironically, has often been criticized for not being able to effectively promote its capabilities and Mr. Pritchard advised those in attendance to change that. He said in order for PR to sit atop the marketing food chain it needed to stake its claim in the digital land grab, know how to build brands and be able to create and drive big ideas.

Asked how the industry could "blow the opportunities" before it, Mr. Pritchard said by simply "not seizing them." "You have never had more potential to be fully baked in to the marketing mix or to lead brand-building efforts," Mr. Pritchard said. "You have to step up and make clear what your capabilities are." 

The Yes Men Reveals How Chevron Campaign Leaked

Artist Contacted by Agency McGarryBowen Turned Over Files

Last week, we brought you news that Chevron's breaking ad campaign and PR push had been hijacked by a group called The Yes Men, working in collaboration with Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch. Now The Yes Men is revealing how it got its hands on the ad campaign to begin with.

The other leak? That one came via an artist employed by Chevron's agency, McGarryBowen, said The Yes Men. Reportedly, street artist César Maxit was asked to work on the posters for the new ad campaign. "Instead, Maxit sent the Chevron files to the Rainforest Action Network and helped build their campaign."

Want to see a video of how that went down? Rainforest Action Network and Maxit are happy to oblige:
Interesting stuff. We wonder if any contracts were violated during this sting operation. No doubt, some will claim the ends justify the means -- someone certainly thought so when a fake Ad Age story was set up last week -- but something tells me lawyers might not see it that way.

Representative from McGarryBowen did not respond to requests for comment.
UPDATED (Oct. 28): According to a Chevron spokesman, "McGarryBowen remains a strong and valued partner to Chevron. This hoax in no way takes away from the groundbreaking campaign they helped create." Chevron refused to discuss "what, if any, legal actions we are going to take." He also said: "These predictable stunts, which are focused on the lawsuit in Ecuador, are an attempt to distract the public and the media from the recent events surrounding the lawsuit -- including fraud and misconduct on the part of the plaintiffs and their associates."