Thursday, February 17, 2011

A piece of Kraft

I decided to look into the Crispin Porter + Bogusky oeuvre to see what else they'd done, because in spite of our hate for the Groupon and Best Buy ads, and our historical hate for their Burger King and Microsoft campaigns, surely, surely they must not exclusively produce crap ads, right?

I'm still looking.

You know what I don't love? Ads that take a product traditionally aimed at children and try to pretend that it's something that is or should be beloved by adults. I've never been able to turn up proof of this, but I'm quite sure that sometime in the early to mid-1990s Cookie Crisp started running ads suggesting that adults could also eat it as kind of a snack food. It was ridiculous then, and it's ridiculous now.

If you've ever had real macaroni and cheese - I mean made from scratch - you know that Kraft's equivalent is like mixing baker's chocolate with Splenda and calling it a Belgian truffle. It is not good. And sure, each to his own taste, but it's objectively of lower quality, even if you still like it. There's no way this dad is so obsessed with it that he's just standing there cramming it into his stupid face.

Of course, that ad is more annoying than truly terrible. Don't worry. It gets worse.

I hate nearly everything about this one.

Girl: "So get this. Kraft Mac and Cheese, but it's in a bag."

Everyone was familiar with the fact that it came in a box, right? And cared?

Girl: "And you bake it. In the oven."

Thereby taking away the only real reason to eat Kraft Mac and Cheese in the first place, which is that it takes slightly less time to make than to make real macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Girl: "Whatever happened to Cheeseasaurus Rex? I love that guy!"

WARNING: MASSIVE EDITORIALIZING OF OUR OWN ADS! "Hey, remember our shitty old mascot we just got rid of? He was totally super popular!" I'm surprised CP+B's recent Domino's ads didn't have people demanding the return of the Noid, too. Also, what's this kid, 9? How long has it been since Cheeseasaurus Rex was actually named in the Kraft ads?

Girl: "Well, Kraft Corporation, I'm on to you. Going after the grownups and trying to muscle me out?"

Revealing your marketing strategy in your copy: super edgy.

Girl: "But I'm not going anywhere."

Yeah, Kraft Mac and Cheese is likely to still be more enjoyed by kids than adults. What was the point of this ad?

As the mac and cheese is pulled out of the oven, pay close attention to the fine print, which states: "Optional oven finish." So basically you're trying to make it look classy on TV, but the fact is that most people are not going to bother to do that extra work as though bread crumbs will make you think your grandma made this.

Announcer: "New Kraft Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese. Cheesy noodles topped with golden brown bread crumbs."

So macaroni and cheese. Only not as good.

Announcer: "You know you love it."

I loathe this tagline. Absolutely hate it. Why is this the pitch? Seems to me the idea is that adults secretly love Kraft Mac and Cheese but refuse to admit it because it's supposed to be for kids. As though, being adults, we don't have the option to buy whatever the fuck we want. If I want to buy Kraft Mac and Cheese, I will. But I don't, because it sucks, no matter how many bread crumbs you sprinkle on it. Don't try to tell me what I love and don't love, Kraft, you assholes. I will make my own grocery buying decisions and you will like it. Fuck you.

And here's the latest one.

Is that the same girl? She looks pretty similar. If so, did her mom recently suffer some sort of brain injury that caused her to forget about Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? (Wouldn't that be the life.)

Let's say that it's either a different girl or is supposed to be. How does this ad make sense? If the mom has never purchased Kraft, then the kid has never had it; if the kid has never had it, how does she know to want it? Even if you assume it's because she saw an ad for it, she seems really certain of how good it's going to taste for someone who's never eaten it.

I'm also no fan of the disdain with which this ad treats the mother's cooking. Okay, so Kraft is trying to "eliminate its competition" or whatever, something common enough in the ad world. But this seems questionable at best. "Hey! Parents! You know the food you're cooking and serving to your kids? Yeah, they fucking hate it. Get with the program and start making them pasta from a bag, and maybe when the revolution comes you won't be the first against the wall. Kraft: We Will Destroy You. I mean, You Know You Love It."

Guess what, Kraft. I didn't like it when Pizza Hut took this angle and I don't like it now. You make shitty processed pasta in a bag and/or box. This is no one's idea of a wonder meal (well, maybe this guy's). Unless someone is a particularly bad cook, it probably does not outclass something they made from scratch, and the idea that we should all just stop making real food and settle for pre-packaged crap is obnoxious at best. Or, why not go the other way and just make the tagline that much clearer?

Kraft: You Know You Can't Cook

Kraft: You Know Your Kids Hate You

Kraft: Stop Embarrassing Yourself

Kraft: Fuck You and the Casserole You Rode In On


Kyle said...

Something about the kids in each of those ads scare the shit out of me. In a "we're not murdering our parents only because there are cameras here" sort of way.

Off topic, but if you want to see the most poorly thought out shitstorm of a commercial, check out the new "Mentos Spider" ad.

Knitwear M. Groundhog said...

I don't understand why the Mentos guy doesn't go in for the kill with a shoe or a newspaper, like any rational person would. Why his hand?

Kyle said...

I think that's a secret the Mentos ad team will take to their graves.

Anonymous said...

Does the guy in this one look kind of like the 'dad' from the first one of these three Kraft commercials?

Anonymous said...

Is that announcer at the end Ted Williams: the "homeless guy with the golden voice" or whatever?

capewood said...

When my kids were little we had Kraft Mac and Cheese all the time because it was easy to make and the kids would eat it. My wife makes a home made mac and cheese that is to die for but its a lot of work. My kids are grown and we never eat the Kraft. Would never think of it. My 26 year-old-daughter however, still loves the stuff. She does not like my wife's homemade however.