Philadelphia Cream Cheese leans into 'is it cake?' frenzy in holiday push

Latest campaign by Gut includes a 'Cheesecake is Everything' website

Published On
Nov 10, 2022

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Philadelphia Cream Cheese is hopping on the “is it cake?” bandwagon with its new holiday campaign, “Cheesecake is Everything.”

Capitalizing on the popular social meme, the campaign by the Kraft-owned brand includes a kit to make your own handbag-shaped cheesecake, as well as a website, ads and more as the brand highlights that this year, you can make cheesecake galore. 

Last year, global supply chain issues coupled with a cyber attack on major U.S. cream cheese manufacturer Schreiber Foods led to a national cream cheese shortage. Kraft even gave a limited amount of consumers who could not make cheesecake for the holidays, $20 for any other dessert.

“This season, we wanted to show up in a big way to share that cheesecake is back and it’s everything, while also igniting the endless possibilities that cheesecake presents,” said Keenan White, senior brand manager at Philadelphia Cream Cheese, in a statement.

The campaign includes the Philly Handbag Cheesecake Kit, available for $19.10 on Amazon. The kit includes step-by-step instructions to make the bag lookalike cake, and cheesecake materials such as Honey Maid graham crackers, fondant, and cupcake top fondant cutters.

A realistic illustration of a cake in the shape of a handbag called The Philly Handbag

In addition to the kit, there's a 15-second TV commercial that sees a family gathered together for a holiday dinner, indulging in everything from dinner rolls to martini glasses—all made out of Philadelphia cheesecake.In addition to handbags, out-of-home ads showcase cheesecakes in the shapes of cameras, perfume bottles, and record players.

Creative agency Gut (whose previous work for the brand includes making a cheesecake kit that looks like a gaming console) developed the campaign. To bring it to life, the brand partnered with Turkish baker Tuba Geckil—where the “is it cake” meme originated from—to create the cakes for TV, along with Netflix’s “Is It Cake?” contestant Jonny Cakes for print ads.

“Cheesecake is Everything” also features a special website with various cheesecake recipes: such as snickerdoodle cheesecake bars, hot cocoa mini cheesecakes, or pumpkin cheesecake with brown butter caramel sauce.