Homemade macaroni and cheese is as easy to make as the kind Kraft would rather you buy in a box. And homemade macaroni and cheese contains fresh, chemical-free ingredients — flour, milk, butter, cheese & pasta.
But Kraft has now decided some people may feel guilty about simply opening up a box to prepare meals, and wants consumers to dump all of Kraft’s packaged chemicals into skillets, lending a sense of real homemade value to a meal.
And Kraft has spent a hefty sum of money on Madison Avenue ads to engineer the belief that when a skillet is used to prepare a boxed meal, the meal comes from the heart. I’ve got chills.
Kraft has paid Wieden & Kennedy to produce a commercial that is part of a broader campaign that includes online advertising and social network marketing.
In the commercial for Velveeta Cheesy Skillets, (an obvious spin on Hamburger Helper) a new line of just-add-meat pasta dinner kits by Kraft, a casually dressed woman in a suburban home says, “Let’s go, kids,” opens the front door and gasps.
“Were you looking for this?” says a brawny 19th-century blacksmith who wears a leather apron and holds an uprooted metal box with wires dangling and “Order here” printed on it.
“Seems the drive-through is closed tonight,” he says, raising an iron skillet and a box of the new product. “Instead — Velveeta Cheesy Skillets.”
They are then transported to the blacksmith’s shop, where he helps her prepare the dish, writes NYT’s Andrew Adam Newman.
“Just brown the meat, stir in the noodles, seasoning, then smite them, smite them with the liquid gold until there can be no more smiting,” says the blacksmith, as he ladles the Velveeta cheese sauce included with the product into the pan.
The spot closes with screen text that says: “Wield the skillet. Forge the family dinner.”
Adam Grablick, the brand manager for Kraft’s Velveeta convenient meals division, told the NYTimes the new ads, and the Cheesy Skillets line itself, would resonate with consumers who wanted simplicity but had misgivings about meals that were too simple.
“Our consumer doesn’t want to be slaving away in the kitchen, but she may not feel great about just pulling something out of the freezer and putting it in the microwave,” Mr. Grablick said. “She wants the meal to be hands-on, and for the meal to come from her hands and her heart.”
Almost 40 percent of those who do not like box meals blame the taste. “The biggest barrier in the category is taste, and we know the taste that consumers are looking for is around great-tasting cheese, and that we can win with consumers around Velveeta,” said Mr. Grablick, the brand manager.
Mr. Grablick has apparently convinced himself in some parallel universe that Velveeta, a processed cheese-like product, is actually real cheese with a wonderful, alluring flavor that will convince consumers to keep buying meals made from the chemical contents in a box.
As Kraft executives endlessly labor to manufacture fantasy ads, we suggest a pass on a box full of chemicals and processed cheese-like goo in favor of good old-fashioned, easy to make, homemade Macaroni and Cheese, where both taste and quality can’t be beat.