- Kraft released a limited-edition version its Classic Ranch Dressing in new packaging, re-named "Salad Frosting," as part of a "#LieLikeaParent" campaign designed to get kids to eat their greens, according to a press release.
- Featuring the tagline "Nobody lies like a parent," the campaign includes a tongue-in-cheek video ad that lists common lies parents tell their kids, like "The internet lady turns off the internet @6pm."
- Parents can also tweet their best lies with the hashtags #LielikeaParent and #contest to win one of 1,500 free samples of the limited-edition dressing in a frosting tube. The contest ends on June 14.
Millennials account for a vast majority of U.S. births each year, and Kraft and other brands in the packaged foods category are focusing on connecting with this more digitally oriented consumer set through humor, authenticity and social media engagement. Millennial parents tend to buck traditional marketing trends with their social media usage — a factor Kraft is clearly trying to capitalize on with the user-generated social media element of the "LieLikeaParent" campaign.
Kraft has seen success with the strategy before. A #SwearLikeaMother ad from two years ago similarly made light of relatable parenting missteps. The campaign, which went viral, featured a humorous video showing a mom using creative ways to replace curse words, like "monkey-flunking." The ad reinforced a message that parents can be "perfectly imperfect."
There's a clear trend Kraft is responding to with these campaigns. A majority of millennial moms say it's important for brands to portray authentic parenting, according to a study by BabyCenter first reported in Adweek. Millennials generally don't find traditional "aspirational" parental advertising — think a glowing mom cleaning a sparkling kitchen, or a perfect dad heading off to his high-powered job — particularly resonant, per Adweek.
While Kraft is again running with slightly edgier message in its portrayal of parenting, "#LieLikeaParent" has courted some backlash. The fact that the creative asks parents to lie to their kids has resulted in some negative feedback on social media, with parents questioning why Kraft would want to encourage potential mistrust in families, as reported in the New York Post.
Kraft courting controversy with "#LieLikeaParent" could create the wrong kind of online sensation at a tough point in time for the brand. Kraft is hungry for a turnaround after parent company Kraft Heinz in February wrote down the value of both it and sister brand Oscar Mayer by $15.4 billion.
The development, which shocked investors at the time, has resulted in an executive exodus at Kraft Heinz. The company parted ways with CMO and global brand officer Eduardo Luz late last month. CEO Bernardo Hees and head of strategic projects Eduardo Pelleissone will depart at the end of June. Amid an ongoing SEC investigation into its accounting practices, Kraft-Heinz finally released its annual report on June 7. Kraft-Heinz reported a loss of $10.25 billion for on $26.26 billion in net sales for 2018.
Correction: A previous version of the article misstated the number of millennials who would become parents in the next decade. Millennials account for 80% of annual U.S. births, per a 2013 study.