|Super Bowl parties will never be the same.|
I detest the taste of mayonnaise. I don't want to see it on my sandwich. I don't want to see it surrounding my tri-color rotini in your tuna salad. I just don't want to see it. For a variety of dietary reasons, you probably shouldn't slather it all over your capicola foot long (though if you are the type of person to consume foot-long subs on the daily, you probably don't give a hootie hoo about the health implications of a little mayo) but far be it from me to tell you what to do. Miracle Whip doesn't like mayo either. Miracle Whip, for those who live outside the realm of reality, is kind of like the Menudo of the whole boy band craze. Just similar enough to be categorized in the same class of condiments and sauces but with a little more flavor. I'm not sure exactly what that "flavor" is supposed to be. I don't touch the stuff. The brand claims that they offer a "spicy bite" that mayo cannot claim though I'm thinking the goop is as spicy as John Boehner is a "wise latina". Point being, I'd rather use some wasabi paste on my sammich any day. Still there are those of us out there who love to drown all of our cold cuts, pasta and veggies in the taupe stuff.
|Mmmm, so hard to resist. Just look at it.|
Kraft's Miracle Whip has countered this consumer loyalty with a recent string of ads that poke fun at the clash of opinions between those who prefer mayo (such as name-brand Hellman's) versus their own concoction. The spots feature "real" people on the street speaking to the cameraman about their love or loathe of the taupe stuff. Some of them claim to like it, love it, gotta have it. While others go as far as to call out the brand for it's unusual taste. They hyperbolize this "great debate" to the extent that you can envision this tearing apart families, crumbling large corporations and bringing societies to their knees. In other words, the ads are ridiculous. What's worse, the commercials are completely ineffective. Not once during the commercial did I have a desire to go out to my local supermarket and purchase a jar. Now I know I am not really an unbiased participant (what with me hating the stuff and all) so I decided to poll some of my work colleagues and classmates in school. My results? Not one person admitted wanting to purchase the product based upon this most recent campaign. In fact, most of my colleagues thought the ads were for mayonnaise. And that right there is the kicker. Not only do the ads NOT make the average person want to go out and buy the brand, they don't even distinguish themselves enough to allow the viewer to have brand recognition. That's kind of the whole point of advertising. So what was the point? I'm pretty sure if your commercial wants to claim even a 1% success rate that the damn ad should clearly outline what it is you are trying to actually sell! Had they not heard the tales of the "That's a spicy meatball" commercial where the audience assumed they were trying to hawk spaghetti sauce? (They were actually trying to sell antacid.) Here's one of the more recent spots. Decide for yourself how effective it is:
Now I'm sure their supporters will claim that the advertisements breed recognition and awareness of the differences between the two commodities and that the simple fact that we are paying attention to the campaign is proof positive that the commercials are doing their job but I would have to vehemently disagree. Commercials are not supposed to be post modern. In today's day and age, yes commercials ad campaigns should be viral and foster discussion. Kraft gets that part right in the fact that the Love it Or Hate It campaign is online where users can voice their opinions on the product in real time. But is this really what advertising is about? Slate has an interesting POV on the subject that you can read here. They claim Kraft is trying to reintroduce the brand to the Gen Y hipsters out there who probably haven't consumed the brand since mom was packing their Teenage Mutant Turtle lunch pail. As a recovering hipster, again I have to cry foul! Slick packaging and clever ideas are not going to make me go out and buy a product that doesn't taste good to me. And the more you remind me of all of the other people in the world that also don't like the way your product tastes the less likely I am to even give you a trial.
So what do you think? Are the ads clever or do they make you want to run to your nearest market and give mustard a try?
--- Vanity in Peril