Philadelphia Cream Cheese Finds Joy in Budget Meetings

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Philadelphia bagel chips & cream cheese dip
Philadelphia bagel chips & cream cheese dip Credit: Kraft Heinz Co.

Philadelphia cream cheese is recasting its marketing to focus less on its fresh ingredients and more on how its products can elevate simple moments.

A campaign kicking off Monday in the U.S. features the new tagline "It must be the Philly." The first TV commercial in the Leo Burnett campaign shows office workers happily rushing into a budget meeting. Why? Food being served at the meeting includes bagels and Philadelphia cream cheese.

"It's really about finding these small human truths, these very real moments and situations that happen," said Jessica Ryan, who became director of brand building for Philadelphia in November.

The push comes as Kraft Heinz Co. is extending the Philadelphia brand into prepackaged snacks. It also follows a few years of highlighting how the products are made with fresh milk and real cream, and how the company gets it from "farm to fridge in six days." There was also a 2014 cream cheese tub redesign.

Philly's ingredient credentials are still present in the advertising, including callouts that the product contains no artificial preservatives, flavors or dyes. But the focus is on connecting with consumers to brighten moments in their everyday lives.

In the coming months Philadelphia will show other situations, including snacking. That approach ties in nicely with two products it is rolling out this year. First up are cheesecake cups, to be followed by bagel chips prepackaged with Philadelphia cream cheese dip.

Both products show how Kraft Heinz Co. is finding ways to move Philadelphia's products beyond their main roles as a bagel topper and a baking ingredient.

"The snacking behavior with Philadelphia already exists," Ms. Ryan said.

Kraft Heinz began running the "It must be the Philly" campaign in Canada in 2016. Now it is bringing the effort, which was created with both markets in mind, to the U.S. following its more traditional holiday season approach centered around cheesecakes and other recipes.

The company declined to share media spending targets for 2017, other than to say spending will run in line with 2016.

Kraft Heinz spent $44.2 million on measured-media for Philly brands from January through October 2016, after spending $33.7 million in calendar 2015, according to Kantar Media. Figures for both periods include spending on products ranging from Philadelphia cream cheese to Kraft Touch of Philly shredded cheese.

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