PR > Techniques

KRAFT NOW PAY LATER

LEO BURNETT CHICAGO / KRAFT / 2019

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Assisting families during a tough time is a sensitive thing for a brand to navigate and talk about. But, through PR, Kraft was able to not only help furloughed workers and their families in an appropriately sensitive way, it helped solidify Kraft’s reputation as a brand that stands for families. At the same time, the brand was also able to garner hundreds of millions of impressions with little-to-no media spend.

Background

In 2018 Kraft was stuck in the middle between generic grocery store brands and higher-end healthier-seeming options. It was a competitive no-man’s land. The brand didn’t stick out or stand for anything in the public’s mind.

To change things, Kraft spent the last half of the year refining its brand purpose, and developing a positioning that deepened the brand’s connection to families.

The desired outcome was to help reintroduce the brand as one that understands families and released some of the pressures they feel. A positioning that not only let Kraft speak about its products, but allowed it to act, and stand for something in culture.

As this process was winding down, the US government started its longest shutdown in history, furloughing 800,000 workers.

Describe the creative idea

Kraft thought if furloughed workers and their families would be going without pay, then so would we.

Within 24 hours Kraft opened a grocery store in downtown Washington DC, the heart of the shutdown’s impact. Here, furloughed workers could grocery shop as usual, buying pantry and frozen items. The only difference: Instead of paying us they could pay it forward by donating to a local food bank or their favorite charity once their paychecks started coming back later. One main reason of this mechanic was to allow families to relieve a burden without it feeling like a handout.

Describe the PR strategy

Amidst all the partisan bickering, Kraft’s piece of non-partisan counter-programming helped the brand stand out and put the focus where it was needed most: on furloughed workers and their families.

The key message was that Kraft was a brand who stood for families and knew how to relieve their stress, particularly when it came to mealtime.

The primary audience was furloughed workers in the Washington DC, area, people who could take advantage of the store.

This immediate audience is a microcosm of a wider target: parents across the country, who understand the stress of putting a meal on the table, preferably one that everyone will eat and enjoy. This secondary target, would hear about Kraft’s efforts with the store, and could directly see Kraft’s renewed purpose in action.

Describe the PR execution

The PR effort targeted the Washington DC area. Its main purpose: inform furloughed workers about the store’s existence. The info started in local media and by word of mouth through local communities. The news then naturally bubbled up to national outlets. As a result, the media talked about Kraft’s gesture, framing it as how it was helping families during this stressful time - a powerful demonstration of the brand’s purpose.

The scale rose with the need. The shutdown continued and the number of furloughed workers coming to the store rose above 2250/day. To meet the growing need, and further stand with families, Kraft publicly asked other brands, even competing brands, for help. The response was overwhelming, with national and international brands like H & M and Tropicana helping Kraft stock its shelves. This provided a wrinkle to the story, sparking even greater attention to the brand and what

List the results

Over ten thousand federal workers came to the store, keeping things business as usual for their families and experiencing first hand how Kraft stands with families.

700,000,000 media impressions, allowed everyone to implicitly understand Kraft’s revitalized purpose.

Kraft’s gesture was covered in all the local Washington DC media along with national outlets like the New York Times, Bloomberg, Time, the Today Show and CNN.

140% growth in conversation around Kraft

20% increase in Kraft social followers.

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