When Apple first introduced the iPad, it had a brilliant line in unveiling it: “You already know how to use it.”
It was marvelous because it exemplified Apple’s brand promise of simplicity, and it also was true. The iPhone had already shot to the top of the list of smartphones, so most of us did know how to use the iPad even if we weren’t aware of it yet.
That approach has taken a similar shape with the new campaign from Kraft Mac & Cheese. As adults, we know the mixture (usually just macaroni, butter and that ghastly cheese dust) isn’t exactly the healthiest food we could eat. Kids might love it, but we know better.
Or do we?
Kraft’s ads end with the line: “You know you love it.” And, damn, if that doesn’t hit right at home. We, as adults, have convinced ourselves that Kraft Mac & Cheese is disgusting. But there is a secret part of us – maybe remembering when we were kids – that would like to eat a spoonful of it if it was recently made. Secretly, without admitting it openly, we do love it.
That’s the skill of that tagline. It feeds on a shared belief and does it in a way that says that Kraft knows it’s a secret.
The ads target adults, which may seem like a losing strategy. I’m not sure most adults would buy Kraft Mac & Cheese for themselves. What the ads do accomplish, however, is that, because “you know you love it,” you have permission to get it for the ones who openly love it: Kids.
I’m not sure if the one spot with Estelle Harris (of Seinfeld fame) has the right tone. (It seems a little mean.) But the spot with the mother doing the airplane trick with the baby hits the right feel.
Like most big brands, Kraft will probably only run the spots for a relatively short time. “You know you love it” is used as an advertising tagline rather than a real brand theme. So any increased sales are likely to be temporary.
But it’s always heartening for me to see a brand that will actually build its marketing based on a belief.