CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Call it ode to the grilled cheese.
In honor of "National Grilled Cheese Month," Kraft Foods has launched a microsite for the month of April inviting consumers to write 50 words about why they love Kraft Singles. The missives will be entered into a weekly drawing from which 500 will be mailed coupons for a free package of Singles.
In addition to the site, iheartgrilledcheese.com, Kraft is sponsoring the so-called First Seventh Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, also known as the world's largest grilled-cheese-cooking competition.
Way to express love
"It's really just our intention to provide an opportunity to let consumers express, themselves in a very short and simple way, what grilled-cheese sandwiches mean to them," said Singles brand manager Clayton Wai-Poi. Kraft doesn't have immediate plans for the entries, though he eventually hopes to share some on the Singles website. Mr. Wai-Poi said the site was nearly overwhelmed by last year's response. The company expects more traffic this year, as it has doubled the giveaway to 2,000 packs from 1,000.
Kraft Singles agencies include Nitro New York and OgilvyAction Chicago. AKQA, Los Angeles, built the giveaway website, and Edelman is handling the brand's PR outreach.
Mr. Wai-Poi said Kraft is preparing to give away 5,000 grilled-cheese sandwiches at the grilled-cheese invitational in Los Angeles on April 25. This is the event's seventh year, and Kraft's second year as a sponsor. The grass-roots event has a variety of categories including The Missionary (the grilled cheese you know), The Kama Sutra (any grilled cheese you can possibly imagine) and The Honey Pot (grilled cheese for dessert).
Higher costs in natural cheese
Kraft is leaning hard on its synthetic-cheese brands, such as Velveeta and Singles, given the economy. Both brands have been given increased marketing support, underscoring the value position. Kraft has aired Velveeta ads describing it as half the price of natural cheese. Singles has a continuing partnership with Campbell Soup Co., advertising a Kraft Singles grilled-cheese sandwich and tomato soup as an All-American lunch for $1.
Kraft, which is in the process of a long and complicated turnaround, has suffered at the hands of its higher-cost natural-cheese business. In the company's most recent earnings call, chief executive Irene Rosenfeld said increased Velveeta and Singles sales have helped balance out the entire cheese business.
Mr. Wai-Poi said celebrating National Grilled Cheese Month is the next step in Kraft's yearlong "Smiles Under a Single" campaign, in which the company will position Singles as a way to eat for less than $1. He added that Kraft is also looking for ways to add value, such as tie-ins with the "Jonas Brothers: 3-D Concert Experience" movie, and a free music download on the Singles website, in exchange for a UPC code.