Friday, October 30, 2009

Kraft Celebrates Football Season with Social Media

When I wrote about the Kraft iFoodAssistant widget recently, I realized that Kraft had more going on in social media and resolved to look into it. When you look, you find all the usual blogs pointing out coupon availability, which is ongoing for most CPG brands. It certainly is a new way of distribution though; and therein lies one social media impact.

What you also quickly see is two seasonal promotions for Velveeta cheese. Tis the season for tailgating or football on TV, and snacks made with Velveeta cheese are a seasonal item. The Kitchenistas blogger promotion has been going on since September; here's the microsite. In fact, today is the last day of activity for the five compensated “Mommy bloggers” who have participated in the promotion.
How does this kind of promotion affect sales? Velveeta brand manager Sherina Smith admits they don’t really know:

“It’s hard to say,” Smith says. “What we do know is that this consumer is online looking for ideas for meals. We know she blogs a lot and looks to other bloggers for tips and ideas. The more that we can be where she’s looking for ideas, the more we can be top of mind when she’s grocery shopping.”

All this context seems to create warm fuzzies for the brand, and that may be all we can say at present. I’d love to know the ROI of a low-cost promotion like this, incorporating real people, compared with the ROI of, say a traditional television commercial. Yes, I’d like to know, but what is the dependent variable—brand awareness, favorable brand attitudes, what? We’re back to the difficulties of measuring attitudes and their impact on behavior. Marketers have operated on faith that positive brand associations do matter for a long time, and I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.

Enter the Big 10 promotion, also for Velveeta and also tied in with football season. Here’s the Big 10 Conference home page for today. Note a banner ad at the top by Rotel with a dish of cheese dip beside it. You probably won’t be surprised when you click through and find that most of the featured recipes feature Velveeta cheese. Rotel is a ConAgra brand with a non-corporate-looking website that pushes recipes and attitude.
Note that on the Big 10 home page there’s a square box pushing a contest for bowl tickets, again featuring Rotel. At the bottom of the page there is another banner that makes the Rotel Velveeta partnership more explicit. It’s all quite integrated—and hard to miss!

Kraft’s website, the iFood Assistant, and one guesses its relationships with bloggers will go on. Promotions for various brands, many of them seasonal, can also be expected to continue. What do you suppose they have on tap for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Stay tuned!

2 comments:

Roman Zubarev said...

Great article about brands. I did some research and Rotel's site is actually http://www.ro-tel.com/index.jsp and the site for the Bowl campaign is here: http://www.ro-tel.com/u-of-rotel/index.jsp

Mary Lou Roberts said...

Thanks for a great comment! And I think you're right; RoTel has several pages; they call the one with all the TexMex recipes "Main Page" but their main brand page does appear to be ro-tel.com. Good checking--and an interesting approach to their branding!