Food Marketing Summer 2022: It’s Worst And Best

Food & Drink

It seems that this summer has invigorated food marketing, especially for iconic brands that have been challenged during the pandemic and rising prices. While some brand managers and advertising creatives have created smart campaigns – others, well, haven’t hit the mark nearly as well.

Here are some notable new campaigns. First two of the worst!

The 100 year old Velveeta brand’s marketing team wants to shake things up a bit and create buzz and relationship with younger generations. How? Well, last year they launched a Velveeta scented nail polish, and with BLT restaurants launched this summer a Velveeta infused martinin aptly named the Veltini.

The Kraft-Heinz marketers are trying to make Velveeta an aspirational lifestyle brand. I accept Velveeta for what it is – a pasteurized prepared cheese product. It cant even be labeled cheese food. I grew up with my dad being in the cheese business and my father wouldn’t allow it in our house. Even though my mom liked the way it melted on macaroni.

The truth is the original recipe was made from Swiss cheese and whey – yes, real cheese. It was created in the early 1900s and Kraft bought it in 1927. From then on the recipe evolved into what it is today – milk, whey, whey protein concentrate, milkfat, sodium phosphate, milk protein concentrate and contains less than 2% of various preservatives and coloring. The brilliant marketers at Kraft were able to buy the American Medical Association’s endorsement in 1931 – they said that Velveeta’s nutritional value build “firm flesh” – what does that mean anyway? Body fat? And no, Velveeta does not require refrigeration and according to the company has a shelf life of 210 days.

Maybe nail polish isn’t such a bad idea after all.

Another food marketing idea whose success is questionable is the Dive Bar (not to be confused with the Dove Bar).

As of August 2021, 39% of Americans say that beer is there “go to” drink. Miller High Life, you know “The Champagne of Bottled Beer” wants to take advantage of the opportunity and do a brand extension into the frozen food case – and be those beer drinker’s ice-cream of choice. Yes, the Dive Bar does contain five percent alcohol . To give the brand credit, it is actually infused with Miller High Life beer, along with peanut and caramel swirls; topped with a sprinkle of ‘carbonated’ candy (remember Pop Rocks?) and it is dipped in dark chocolate.

Got your taste buds flowing yet? Well before you get too excited…. it is named Dive Bar as they want to recreate the total Dive Bar experience! The brand says that the peanut swirl is in honor of the quintessential dive bar snack – peanuts. There is a hint of tobacco smoke flavor and the caramel swirl is intended to mimic the sticky dive bar floor. The carbonated candy is there to mimic the fizziness of beer and the dark chocolate topping is meant to evoke the dark wood and dim lighting ambiance of a dive bar.

Ice cream novelty for sure, but I don’t think that the Dove Bar has anything to worry about.

The good news is that there actually is one brand that put together a campaign that is brilliant and timely.

A major shout out to Tito’s vodka for a brilliant PR and marketing stunt – Tito’s in a can. A 16 oz. reusable steel can that sells online for $20 with 2 major stand outs in both the category and in marketing. When you buy a Ttio’s in a can, the entire proceeds go to your choice of a non-profit partner. Second is that the can is empty. That’s right – empty.

The brand is making fun of the hard seltzers and canned cocktail craze that we’ve reported on here before. Are a lot of us that are going to make our own canned cocktails in the Tito’s can, not really. But what this promotion highlights is the fact that typically these seltzers and cocktails don’t use the spirits that their names allude to.

Remember Bartel’s & James wine coolers that replaced the wine once they were a hit with malt? They never called it a beer cooler and dropped the alcohol level to 4%. And while they are still on the market – of course now in a can. You’d be hard pressed to find it.

Tito’s campaign takes a stand – know what you are buying. It’s a shout out to watch this canned seltzer and cooler category carefully, and see just what its future really is.

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