As fall descends upon us, pumpkin spice begins to waft in from practically every corner of the food and retail universe. But 2020 welcomes a new contender into the cinnamon and nutmeg-flavored fray: Kraft Mac & Cheese.
Earlier this week In Canada, where Kraft Mac & Cheese is known as Kraft Dinner (or KD), the ready-to-make boxed food announced it would be coming out in a pumpkin-spiced variety. But it’s not available for purchase. Consumers have to sign onto a waiting list at PumpkinSpiceKD.com. 1,000 lucky people will receive a box of KD with a pumpkin-spiced flavor booster to add to the cheese powder, along with cinnamon topping. Kraft is also giving those winners a personalized coffee shop-style white mug from which to consume their meal. (To make the experience as “authentic” as possible, the winners’ names will be misspelled.)
Within 48 hours after the idea dropped in the market, more than 30,000 Canadians signed up for the waitlist. And now, Kraft is bringing the product to the U.S. Those in the States will be able to enter for a chance to win one of the 1,000 limited-edition boxes of Kraft Pumpkin Spice Macaroni & Cheese by tweeting to @KraftMacNCheese with the hashtags #PumpkinSpiceKMC #Sweepstakes.
The new product was conceived by Canada's Rethink, the agency behind the Heinz Ketchup-red pandemic puzzle, among other out-there ideas. It's also the latest in unconventional marketing ideas for the product—last month in the U.S., Kraft Heinz declared its macaroni and cheese an acceptable breakfast food. The KD campaign will be running on social, in influencer content as well as in out-of-home ads positioned next to select coffee spots.
“Canadians have always made KD their own way, and if that means wanting it with pumpkin spice, well, we’re all for it,” said Brian Neumann, senior brand manager, brand building and innovation at Kraft Heinz Canada in a statement. “We’re not judgy, so this pumpkin spice season, we decided to combine the one-of-a-kind cheesy taste of KD with the most iconic flavor of fall and create Pumpkin Spice KD. Move over lattes and muffins, PSKD is the must-try new flavor this fall.”
“After seeing the huge response Pumpkin Spice Mac & Cheese received north of the border, and even hearing some heated debates about it down here, we had to bring it to the U.S. for Americans to try,” added Martina Davis, brand manager for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in a statement. “Who knows? Maybe it could become a new North American fall favorite.”
Rethink Partner and Creative Director Mike Dubrick tells Ad Age that after the agency thought up the idea and brought it to the client, “They laughed, then emphatically said yes. We worked really closely together to meet a really challenging timeline to get it to market.”
As for how the new product tastes, “I’ve been sworn to secrecy,” he says. “But all I'll say is expect some Kombucha Girl-like reactions.”