- Kraft recently aired an advertisement for its mac and cheese line in which a mom shares colorful alternatives to swearing around her children — then lets fly a few profanity-laced tirades, according to CNBC. The campaign, called “Swear Like A Mother,” is meant to show moms they don’t have to be perfect.
- The ad was based on a survey Kraft conducted that found 74% of millennial moms had sworn around their children. “We wanted to cut moms some slack,” Rachel Drof, marketing director for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, said in a press release.
- Kraft is fighting slumping center store sales as consumers turn towards less-processed foods. The company has reformulated its mac and cheese to include fewer artificial ingredients, which has boosted sales.
For years, advertising has depicted moms as squeaky clean, personality-free individuals whose main activities include blissfully serving up meals, cleaning up after their kids and watching others have fun.
Consider Kraft’s new ad the antidote to the typical advertising mom. The “swearing expert” who anchors the spot, Melissa Mohr, Ph.D. — who really did write the book "Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing" — offers tips for swearing around their children by using a collection of colorful phrases like “what the frog?” and “monkey flunking.” But her frustration inevitably leads her to break down and spout profanity-laced tirades.
Kraft’s message: Nobody’s perfect, not even moms.
The company based its ad off consumer research that showed nearly three quarters of millennial moms have sworn around their children. Kraft may also have been influenced by a growing body of research that shows millennial moms are well educated, having children at an older age than previous generations, and are growing increasingly disillusioned with the image of the perfect, do-everything mother.
Millennial moms are a hugely influential demographic, but marketers may be overlooking them. According to a report from marketing firm Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, 42% of millennial moms say they feel most advertising and marketing isn’t useful to them. Missing this target means companies are missing out on a very connected group of consumers: According to the same report, millennial moms have an average of 3.4 social media accounts, and 74% say their friends and family regularly consult them on purchasing decisions.
All the buzz around the ad and tweets using its #swearlikeamother hashtag indicate Kraft hit upon a powerful social message. But ultimately it needs to sell more of the company’s mac and cheese. By roping its signature product into the theme of “nobody’s perfect,” Kraft seems to be subtly acknowledging that its blue box meals aren’t the healthiest, most gourmet creations on Earth, despite their recent reformulation. But hey, that’s OK because they’re convenient, kids like them, and they flippin’ taste good. It’s a pragmatic appeal that could just win customers over with its honesty.