Jordan Fietje, senior product manager of marketing for Kraft, says the campaign evolved from a number of focus groups held by the company. He says the “overwhelming” response from consumers was they “loved” Kraft Peanut Butter.
“They have all these emotions tied to it. Many Canadians grew up with it. They love the whole peanut butter experience, especially melting peanut butter on toast,” he says.
“We saw the emotions and feelings that people have about Kraft Peanut Butter and we thought, ‘let’s talk to people about that.’ We put the peanut butter on the toast, let it melt and had them scratch in emotions and feelings. It wasn’t just one, there were so many, which is why we ended up with this campaign.”
The symbols drawn by peanut butter lovers reflect feelings of warmth, coziness and childhood memories, he says.
“We’re putting those feelings into the peanut butter and showing it back to you. That’s what’s resonating well with the consumers. It’s not us making something up, it’s us repeating what they already feel,” he says.
The campaign also makes use of the two Kraft Peanut Butter bear mascots, “Crunchie” and “Smoothie,” who have given out free hugs at various promotional events across Canada. For every hug, the company donated one 500-gram jar of peanut butter to a local food bank. Thus far, the company’s philanthropy has topped 50,000 jars to food banks in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.
“The response at the live events has been fantastic. To see the looks on the faces of kids and adults when they see Crunchie and Smoothie – they know them from the jars – is great. You’d be amazed how many people wanted to line up to give them a hug. It’s part of the emotion they have tied up in the brand itself,” he says.
The artistic campaign also extends online, highlighted by the ability to send your own drawing on peanut butter toast to a friend at spreadthefeeling.ca. The experience is as close as possible to the real thing as visitors are asked to choose their favorite bread (white, whole wheat or rye) and then their preferred level of “toastedness.” After it pops out of the toaster – it takes a few seconds while a small plume of smoke appears – you can choose from feelings, letters and symbols or a paintbrush to draw something freehand. Then you can send your creation to a friend’s email address or add it to Kraft’s art gallery, which has more than 7,300 pieces on display.
Fietje says the company is trying to share the campaign with as many people as possible and decided to empower Canadians to spread the feeling themselves.
Derrick Coupland, a partner at Blacksheep Strategy, a Winnipeg, Canada-based branding strategy company, says he believes Kraft’s toast campaign is “well executed” because not only does it integrate traditional and social media but it also ties in corporate giving.
“The overall brand experience permeates successfully through the whole program. From a pure advertising and promotional standpoint, the beauty of the whole program is the product is the star; Kraft Peanut Butter is front and centre. That’s the fundamental driver of the success,” he says.
Coupland says he’s also a fan of the campaign’s simplicity. “It never gets complicated. The simplicity of drawing a message on toast is elegant and straightforward. It has been developed for kids and youth and even adults can use it. The functionality is obvious, intuitive and it’s kind of fun,” he says.
Coupland says another layer of success of the toast program is that it takes people back to their childhood around the breakfast table.
“We all have memories of spreading peanut butter on a piece of toast. This is something kids could do by themselves; they don’t need Mom and Dad. (The program) is quite successful in rekindling or reawakening those memories of a very simple act of having toast in the morning with Kraft Peanut Butter on it,” he says.
Fietje says Kraft Peanut Butter, which comes in a variety of styles, including smooth, crunchie, extra smooth, extra creamy, no salt, no sugar and all natural, is the No. 1 brand in the market. And while breakfast is the most popular meal featuring peanut butter, he says it’s also a common sandwich ingredient and an after-school snack.
“You’d be surprised how many people eat it out of the jar. Some people keep a jar at work and just dip their finger in there. It’s a protein. It makes you feel good about what you’re eating and it tastes fantastic,” he says.