Marketing consultant Guy Kawasaki has written that brands shouldn’t be afraid to polarize people: “The worst case is to incite no passionate reactions at all, and that happens when companies try to make everyone happy.”
Some brands seem to excite that provocative push-and-pull by their very nature. With its sweeter-than-mayo taste, Miracle Whip is one of those. And the Kraft brand is currently taking advantage of that polarizing effect, with a campaign that shows celebrities giving the brand a thumbs up/ thumbs down in video spots and asking regular folks to do the same in social media.
The campaign, which launched with a TV spot aired during “American Idol” in late February, asks the public to choose sides in the mayonnaise vs. Miracle Whip debate and elicits the opinions of high-profile spokespeople such as James Carville and “Jersey Shore”’s Pauly D to help them make up their minds where they stand. Miracle Whip used its agency of record McGarryBowen and digital marketing agency AXQA to conceive and manage the campaign.
The main marketing message: Either you love the stuff or you hate it.” While the spot contains plenty of positive comment—including a cameo from Amy Sedaris as a housewife who says winkingly that Miracle Whip is “always great in the bedroom”—there are some pretty memorable pans of the brand too. One notable nay-sayer avers that “Miracle Whip tastes like lotion, but sweet. And who wants a sweet lotion sandwich?”
The tagline to the TV spot asks the direct question, “Are you Miracle Whip?,” and gives viewers a chance to find out by offering a free sample of two half-ounce packets via a clickthrough from its YouTube page. Visitors there can also view alternative clips from the main Miracle Whip shoot, including Carville’s down-home vision for a perfect sandwich of white bread, ham, tomato and “rat cheese”. And they can cast a vote for or against the condiment – either a straight up-or-down or with up to 70 characters of comment.
“We’re embracing the fact that this is a polarizing brand,” says Sara Braun, marketing director at Kraft Foods for the Miracle Whip and Grey Poupon brands. “We want to entice non-users to pick up a bottle of Miracle Whip and try it, so we’re frankly owning up to the fact that we’re not for everyone.”
The “Are You Miracle Whip?” campaign follows the tack of the brand’s advertising over the last two years to pitch the condiment as tangy and unapologetically assertive under the slogan, “We Will Not Tone It Down.”
“A lot of what we’ve been trying to do on Miracle Whip recently has been to contemporize our brand and bring in those younger users,” says Braun. “Social media is a very important channel for them, and we want to hit them across all media aspects. You’ll see us advertise on shows like ‘American idol” and “Jersey Shore’, and we felt we also needed a strong presence in social media to effectively reach the consumers we were going after.”
The “Love or Hate” campaign also shows up on Miracle Whip’s Facebook page, where visitors automatically land on a tab for the campaign that offers a $1 coupon for expressing their opinion pro or con in 70 characters. Those comments then appear in the Miracle Whip Facebook wall.
At the moment, there does not appear to be a strong linkage between the YouTube and Facebook channels that will let users post comments to one of the social pages and share it on the other.
The brand is also conducting a dialogue related to the campaign on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/miraclewhip. For example, a recent string referred to Pauly D’s comment that liking Miracle Whip was a relationship “dealbreaker”, and asked followers to list other dealbreaking qualities in potential partners.
Tallying the results so far for the campaign, which will extend through the year and may be refreshed with new video content, the current “Love Us” vote stands at about 50,700, while the “Hate Us” ballots number only about 2,900. The comments, which show up as a live scroll on the YouTube page, are lightly moderated for appropriateness but otherwise appear intact, so that the negative reviews can be pretty forceful: “I have always hated it and I always will it is just awful”; “It tastes like spoiled sour cream…sour and smelly!”; and just “ewwww”.
Surfacing those negative reviews wasn’t a major concern for the brand, says Braun. For one thing, they were pretty confident going in that the likes would outnumber the hates by a healthy proportion, and that the “ewwws” would be balanced by comments that “Miracle Whip kicks mayos butt!!!”
In addition, the truth is that the campaign isn’t meant to change haters’ opinions but is aimed largely at prospective users who haven’t yet made up their minds. “We want to reach those people who haven’t tried us and get a sample into their hands,” says Braun. The sample packaging also includes a call for recipients to go to Miracle Whip’s social media and record their new-found vote.
“We recognize that many of our users live in a dual-condiment household,” says Braun. “We just want to make sure Miracle Whip is on that refrigerator shelf with the others.”