2021 Winner

Kraft Heinz

You Do You & Pumpkin Spice KD


SilverTurnaround Strategy

Kraft Dinner has been referred to as Canada’s “national treasure.” It’s the most purchased grocery item in the country with Canadians eating 3.2 boxes per year. So unsurprisingly, Canadians have some pretty strong opinions about how to eat it and how the brand should and shouldn’t act.

The brand was always renowned for its neon orange cheese and playful swagger. But in the mid-2010’s, KD underwent an overhaul. In an attempt to keep up with healthier food trends, they said goodbye to artificial flavours, colours and preservatives alongside their cheeky and irreverent advertising. The brand launched several campaigns that were targeted specifically at families, highlighting KD’s new healthier offering.

Unfortunately, this didn’t resonate with Canadians. Sales of the iconic dish declined 15% from 2016-2019 and the brand lost $11 million in 2018 alone. Not only was this new strategy hurting revenue, brand love was plummeting as their target fell out of love with KD. They decided that it was time for KD to set their sights on a new, younger demographic - millennials and Gen Z. And, instead of placating themselves to “healthy” market trends or showing the perfect family eating the perfect bowl of KD, they’d embrace their irreverent attitude and tap into how the younger gen was actually eating their product. Which was however the hell they wanted.

They discovered through social listening that Canadians loved to hack their mac by adding peas, ketchup, tuna, you name it. Rather than resist it, they messed with their product, too.

They launched KD’s new You do You platform which provoked Canadians to mess with their mac in weird and wonderful ways. They championed the outrageous ways people enjoyed KD with TV and OLV that featured people making KD in an empty coffee pot, in a sauna and even in a blender. The ad featured Canadian singer Stephen Page, who had famously mused about eating KD in the Barenaked Ladies song “If I had a Million Dollars.” Even after having a million dollars, (which was clear from the gold records and fur coat he donned in the ad), he was still eating KD with ketchup out of a mixing bowl.

While they celebrated how Canadians put their own spin on their product, they were still producing regular old KD. It was time that KD walked the talk. So, they introduced their own over-the-top flavour boost: a sachet of flavour powder that could be added to your KD. In the spirit of younger target’s “You do You” mantra, they landed on a flavour that was as bold and irreverent as they were. On the first day of fall, they launched Pumpkin Spice KD, a flavour boost that offered a slightly sweet, slightly spiced and highly polarizing twist to KD. They launched the product by trolling #PSL culture, riffing on “basic” fall tropes in their visuals and putting OOH in hyper-targeted intersections outside of the queen of PSL herself, Starbucks, with headlines like “this is a grande idea.” They tweeted back at fans with personalized assets featuring their name incorrectly spelled on their custom designed PSKD cup, just like you would get at Starbucks. Canadians fell over themselves to get their hands on one of their 1,000 product samples.

By empowering Canadians to enjoy KD in their own weird and wonderful ways, they increased Kraft Dinner sales by 27%. Sales reached their highest point in 4 years and delivered $30M to the brand. On top of that, they took a brand whose relevance was declining and brought brand equity to heights unseen since 2017 and won the hearts of Gen Z and Millennials, increasing the statement “brand for me” by 5 points. Pumpkin Spice KD saw 2.8 billion earned impressions, $590 million USD worth of earned publicity, including 40 hours of free TV coverage, appearing on shows like Colbert Report and Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel. This was the most earned attention Kraft had received on a campaign, ever.

As a result of this success of Pumpkin Spice KD, the brand has since geared up to launch a full line of flavour boosts in 2021. So they didn’t just turn around a brand and launch a single new product line, they created an entirely new innovation pipeline for the brand for years to come. On top of that, after such massive success with a new target, the brand has shifted 70% of marketing spend towards Gen Z and millennial demographics.

You Do You:
CCO: Aaron Starkman
Creative Director: Mike Dubrick, Loretta Lau
Art Director: Loretta Lau
Writer: Mike Dubrick, Arjang Esfandiyari
Chief Strategy Officer: Sean McDonald
Strategist: Savannah Onofrey
Producer: Alex Butt
Director/DoP: Ryan Hope
Production House: Revolver Films
Line Producer: Barclay Maude
Editor: Mark Paiva
Post Production House: Saints Editorial
Colorist: Eric Whipp, Alter Ego
On-Line: Paul Binney, Darling VFX
Audio House: Vapor-RMW
Audio Creative Director: Dustin Anstey
Audio Engineer: Stephen Stepanic
Audio License: Music Rights Clearance
Account Services: Amy Greenspoon, Kai de Bryun Kops, Sarah Shiff
Client: Daniel Gotlib

CCO: Aaron Starkman
ECD: Mike Dubrick
CD / Head of Art: Joel Holtby
Creative Director: Allan Topol, Loretta Lau
Art Director: Nick Noh
Writer: Jordan Darnbrough
Designer: Jake Lim, Erin Maguire
French Writer: Karine Doucet
Strategist: Sean McDonald, Hannah Newport
Producer: Narine Artinian, Kate Spencer
Production Company: Fuze Reps
Photographer: Chris Robinson
Producer: Helen Yousif
Account Services: Amy Greenspoon, Kai de Bryun Kops, Allie Kennedy
Media: Starcom
PR: The Colony Project
Community Management: SALT
Head of Brand Build and Innovation: Nina Patel
Senior Brand Manager: Brian Neumann
Senior Associate Brand Manager: Ishani Patel

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.