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  • Paul Jankowski

Creative Teams Miss The Mark Again: Kroger And Kraft Latest Victims

Updated: Jan 25, 2021

Kroger goes "low" with new campaign. SUPERMARKET NEWS

The 3rd century Greek phrase, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is more relevant now than ever. In searching for that ‘brand beauty,’ many brand teams entrust the brand strategy to their creative team with hopes that they will uphold the vision and integrity of the brand through the creative process. This doesn’t always work. The challenge many brands face however, as the ‘beholders,’ is creative teams can really miss the mark.

I love the Kroger brand. Based on the hit my bank account takes due to my too frequent trips to their friendly aisles, I may love them a little too much.

But, man, did they get sold a bill of goods when they agreed to use Flo Rida feat. T-Pains’ “Low” as the music bed for their new spots.

The meaning of this 2008 hit is very clear. Sadly, the brand team didn’t push back on the blatant objectification of women.

“She hit da floor, next time you know, shawty got low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low.”

Thankfully lines such as, “so sexual, she was flexible, professional, drinkin’ X and O”, “work the pole, I got the bank roll, I’ma say that I prefer them no clothes, I’m into that, I love women exposed” and “sorry but I had to fold her, like a pornography poster” weren’t used.

You get the point. However, if you’re not sure, “Shawty” is a stripper and a ‘pro’ who was ‘worth the money’ and was ‘fly just like my glock.’

The animation was flawless, the idea of low prices is spot-on and timely, but the choice of music just doesn’t support the brand values.

While the hook of the song is instantly recognizable, the lyrics and meaning of the song are so disconnected from the essence of this pristine and powerful brand.

Mac and Cheese asking for "noods". SHESCRIBES.COM

Kraft Asks Customers For Noods

Sometimes brands don’t recognize how quickly brand positioning can get away from them when they try to get edgy with creative execution.

This week, this trainwreck of a campaign which put Kraft’s Mac and Cheese in the center of cancel culture. In it, the iconic brand encouraged people to “send noods” (not the picture kind, the noodle kind) to those they care about “in these strange times.” Yeah, Kraft thought it would be appropriate to play the sympathetic brand while also sharing a not-so-subtle raunchy message.

Adapting or Alienating?

All brands are feeling the pressure to adapt.

Kroger and its competitors, Walmart and Target, are all New Heartland brands with headquarters in Cincinnati, Bentonville, and Minneapolis.

It’s no surprise that Kroger wants to stand out and attract a younger and more urban demographic to their stores. But their current effort runs the risk of alienating the majority of their customer base.

Of the 35 states Kroger serves, 21 are located in the New Heartland.

But why select Flo Rida and T-Pain to speak for your decidedly New Heartland brand?

“So whether we manufacture, market, stock, check, deliver, or manage, we all try to make their [the customers’] experience as uplifting as possible. We’ve always been about value, convenience, and making customers’ lives simpler.”

Almost exactly a year ago, Kroger unveiled its brand refresh. VP of marketing at Kroger, Mandy Rassi, said today’s cluttered marketing climate was the impetus behind the brand’s decision to rebrand. She said the brand needed to stand for something.

Surely the meaning of “Low” was not it.

In this case, the beauty was in the eye of the wrong beholder.

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