Kraft Dresses Up Ranch Dressing

Kraft has begun airing new, tell-it-like-it-is commercials to get the word out about improvements to its ranch salad dressing brand.
The food maker reformulated its entire line of salad dressings in 2008, but consumers didn’t respond favorably to the change on its ranch varieties. Kraft took the experiment back to the cooking pot, and today (Monday), has kicked off a new campaign to introduce to consumers new and improved ranch varieties. Those flavors include Peppercorn and Buttermilk Ranch (both began hitting shelves last month).
The spots, via agency mcgarrybowen, all follow the same format. A woman hits the road in a Kraft Road Ranch mobile to interview consumers on what they think of the new Kraft ranch. (All individuals interviewed in these spots were real-life consumers, according to the company.) In one ad, she careens onto a golf course with some ranch dippings of buffalo wings. In another, the woman gets in trouble with the local police after screaming: “Who’s ready for some great, ranch flavor?” (The Kraft vehicle is appropriately decorated with the words, “Great New Taste,” and a giant Kraft ranch dressing bottle on the side.) “I guess if great taste is a crime, then take me off to flavor prison,” she jokingly tells the cops. The spots were filmed in Hidden Valley communities in California and Minnesota.
David Ervin, Kraft ranch dressing marketing director, said this is the first time the brand has gone on a road trip of any kind. “We wanted to capture some fun and humor with the ad,” he said of the campaign’s approach. Kraft rep Joyce Hodel added that this also marks the first time the company has adopted a flavor-based approach when advertising its salad dressings. Previous ads focused more on the overall brand.
Kraft this month also introduced a salad dressing sampling tour at 750 office buildings nationwide. Kraft salad experts will help time-starved office workers create salad combinations incorporating the new Kraft salad dressings. Ervin said the effort, which runs through May, draws its insight from the fact that lunch seekers are usually more willing to try new flavors at noontime, as opposed to at the dinner table with their families.
Kraft salad dressings could certainly use a boost. Sales of Kraft salad dressing mixes fell 5.54 percent, or $41 million. Its shelf stable and portable dressings, meanwhile, declined 5.98 percent to $350 million. The category, as a whole, is up 1.83 percent, with private label in both the salad dressing mixes and shelf stable varieties up 16.89 and 19.66 percent, respectively.
The new effort, part of the company’s “Pure Kraft” salad dressing campaign launched last year, also includes Twitter and Facebook pages, and in-store marketing via Catalina coupons. Euro RSCG’s Chicago office handled social media and digital duties.
Additionally, Kraft has enclosed a “seed paper” insert in its Food & Family magazine this month. The paper turns into a lettuce when planted in the ground. There is also a $1 off coupon for any two bottles of Kraft salad dressing.
Kraft spent $22 million advertising its salad dressings in the U.S. in 2008, excluding online, per Nielsen.