‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’…or is there?

Our recent work experience Josh Cawood shares this thoughts on Kraft’s latest campaign…

Phineas T. Barnum – the man who inspired The Greatest Showman and gave the world Hugh Jackman parading around in a top hat – is often credited as coining this iconic phrase.

For Barnum and his travelling circus, the phrase was true. His company thrived on intrigue. It was the lifeblood of the circus. People talking about the weird, wacky and wonderful things they saw meant more people coming to see it for themselves.

Over the years he earned the reputation of the ‘Shakespeare of Advertising’, and it seems Kraft have tried to take a page out of his playbook.

Their latest campaign, #LieLikeAParent, is the sort of bold and outrageous idea that Barnum would have stood up and applauded.

“Let’s be honest, parents lie to their kids. It is their secret weapon in parenting”.

With this tongue-in-cheek viral marketing campaign, Kraft has boldly outed parents as liars, backing up their opinions with stats, all in the name of selling salad dressing.

The premise of the campaign is devilishly simple. Kraft has created limited tubes of ‘salad frosting’ – mixing their signature ranch dressing with a pinch of parental deception. The product is best served chilled…or accompanied by a playful video showcasing other white lies aimed at kids.

The key to this whole campaign is the hashtag: #LieLikeAParent.

Kraft used it to encourage parents to reveal their finest parental lies and most devious parenting moments. They incentivised parents to speak out all for the chance to win one of those limited-edition products.

They had the key ingredients – an eye-catching hashtag, ample reason to use it and a dash of the controversial – to go viral, even if some found it harder to stomach.

Vocal Twitter users attacked the campaign as tone deaf and dangerous, questioning why the company would want to promote lying and breed mistrust in relationships.

No matter whether you see #LieLikeAParent as light-hearted fun to encourage kids to eat their greens, or as Kraft missing the point in a reckless way, one thing is for sure: it has got people talking.

Kraft has, on the back of a purposefully controversial hashtag, got ranch trending.

That is no easy feat for an age-old product like this. It would be like waking up tomorrow and seeing that Heinz have got HP Sauce to go viral. I am sure your brain is whizzing around to try and work out how that could happen. It probably couldn’t, or at least a bold and outrageous idea like #LieLikeAParent.

Maybe Barnum was not too far off with his saying after all.