Brands and advertisers are constantly looking for opportunities to connect with consumers in innovative and memorable ways. Kraft Mac & Cheese's ("Kraft") recent attempt garnered a great deal of attention, but it also resulted in a lot backlash from parents, and led to the brand swiftly pulling the ad.
What type of ad could cause such an outcry? Well, in honor of National Noodle Day on October 6th (yes, even noodles have a national day), Kraft enlisted the help of ad agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address. What ensued was a campaign centered around an innuendo which encouraged people to send "noods," not "nudes" to friends and family members through a promotion which resulted in more than 20,000 customers receiving a box of cheesy noods. The campaign materials played up this homonym in a variety of ways, including a website (www.enjoynoods.com) where mac and cheese lovers could get noods and a mock magazine entitled Just Noods whose cover featured a woman provocatively sitting down to eat a bowl of blurred out noods.
What does this mean for brands and advertisers? Beyond pure legal risks, it is important to remember that if you create a campaign which does not align with the brand perception (i.e., a wholesome family brand), especially in the age of social media, your attempt at being cheeky can quickly backfire, which may warrant taking down the materials so as not to further alienate your core customers.