There's something about Kraft cheese: The new ads

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No matter how you slice it, Kraft Foods wants to be the big cheese.

To keep the Kraft brand top of mind with consumers, the food behemoth will apply a new "There's something about Kraft cheese" theme across its extensive lineup in a new umbrella effort from J. Walter Thompson USA, Chicago.

Kraft spent $32 million last year advertising its individual cheeses, but the company said the new umbrella effort will get even more backing. The portfolio, including Kraft Singles, Kraft Deli Deluxe Slices, Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese, Kraft Cubes and Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese, posted sales of more than $1.5 billion for the 52 weeks ended Aug. 13, according to Information Resources Inc.

"We're hoping that the unified effort will give us greater presence and build on the strong equity Kraft has," said John Boswell, category business director of natural cheese at Kraft. "When people think of Kraft, it's natural for them to think of cheese, but we want people, when they think of cheese, to think of Kraft."

Three TV spots are on the air in Cleveland, Minneapolis and Tampa, Fla., and the campaign is slated to go national in January. Each spot focuses on the benefits of individual Kraft cheese brands while at the same time linking them under a common theme.

`ABOUT A FEELING'

"As we looked at how each individual was connected under the umbrella of Kraft, we thought [the campaign] would have more impact and make more of an impression if we treated it like an image campaign. Not wordy or detailed, but a little more about a feeling," said Jeff York, senior partner-group creative director at JWT.

Indeed, there is almost no dialogue in the commercials. In "Remote," a young woman gains control of the remote when her mate is forced to exchange the clicker for Kraft Parmesan Cheese to put on his pizza. In "Planning," Kraft Singles helps a little boy win the heart of a pretty schoolmate when he gives her his cheese sandwich (having been clever enough to make another for himself). The only dialogue in that spot comes when the girl asks, "It's for me?"

"We wanted to let people fill in their own feelings and to let the stories and passions of real-life episodes tell the bigger picture," Mr. York said. "Our director, Bob Giraldi, said the one thing that never goes out of style is telling the real story."

A new spot for Kraft Mexican Shredded Cheese breaks in October, and the rotation of four spots goes national early next year. Print ads hit in February.

`REALLY EXCITED'

"The umbrella campaign is something we hope to be able to spend even more against as we see the results from the initial efforts because it's something we're really excited about," said Mr. Boswell.

Besides building awareness for the Kraft portfolio of cheeses, the campaign also helps drive efficiencies in production and media buying, which Kraft has committed to with its plan to consolidate media buying and planning (AA, Sept. 11).

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