Bringing Back The Old Easy Mac
Kraft Easy Mac had a great thing going – they were the toast of the instant snacking world, enjoying a long and happy relationship with males 12-25, whose love and loyalty had helped make them a $33 million brand.
Life was good. Until suddenly, it wasn’t.LINK TO RELATED CONTENT → AU
It had seemed like a small, innocuous change – a step toward a ‘healthier’ product offering – when Mondelez Australia replaced the natural cheese in KRAFT EASY MAC with a powdered alternative.
Except our ‘EASY MAC Men’ did not agree. To say they were ‘cheesed off’ with the new recipe is an understatement (as well as a great pun). Dudes don’t like change at the best of times, but especially when it relates to the taste of their favorite snack.
Consumer complaints shot up 320%, with three out of four complainants vowing never to eat EASY MAC again. The recipe change translated to a 30% or approximately $10 million drop in sales over the course of a year.
Realising the error of their ways, Mondelez quickly decided to revert back to the original cheesy, creamy formula. They knew it would take more than that though, to win back the love of the loyal. A sacred trust had been broken and needed to be rebuilt, one cheesy pasta kernel at a time.
The task at hand was clear:
• Announce the return of the original recipe
• Regain the trust of our consumers: Males 12-25
• Halt the sales decline
Put simply: “We hear you, we messed up. We’ve fixed it, forgive us?”
It would not be a matter of simply spreading the word of the recipe revert – we needed to find a way to make it up to our EASY MAC Man and prove we were back to the snack he’s always known and loved.
The challenge, however, was gaining cut through to actually deliver our apology. Millennial males are notoriously difficult to reach and resistant to advertising, so it would need to be something special in order to stand out.
We knew we wanted to rekindle what was once a glorious friendship between KRAFT EASY MAC and the EASY MAC Man – we wanted back in the inner circle, to run with the wolf pack once more. So we decided to take some cues from what he thinks goes into making a great mate.
Mountains of research and countless probing questions to guys in the office later, we landed our insight: men bond through banter – they make friends by making fun.
In fact, 87% of millennial males believe just knowing that someone shares the same sense of humour is enough to tell whether or not they could be friends.
They tend to validate brands in the same way – they gravitate toward bold brands who aren’t afraid to take the p*ss out of themselves and others. They avoid the contrived and the inauthentic.
In order to repair our relationship, we needed to tap into the kind of banter that fuels his friendships and show we weren’t afraid to laugh (and let others laugh) at our epic fail.
We decided the best way to do this was to eat humble pie and take a risk with our brand by relinquishing control over the apology. To win back their trust, we gave them some of ours; we were going to crowd-source the ‘Old EASY MAC is Back’ announcement.
 Viacom ‘Comedy Natives’ 2012
Using creative community, eYeka, Mondelez Australia put the call out globally for respondents to “show us how to creatively say sorry and win back the stomach of hungry guys”. Seventy-four entrants from 23 countries responded in six weeks, of which five videos were selected to help re-launch EASY MAC to our wounded (and probably hungry) EASY MAC Men. You can check out the winning video here.
We kicked off the campaign on YouTube, knowing millennial males are the largest online video consumers of any demographic. We targeted entertainment-focused content including movies, music, TV and gaming, continually optimising spend to support the strongest-performing videos.
We then followed with Facebook, broadcasting the videos via our newly-created Facebook page. We also used this environment to pad out our new brand persona, including memes, jokes, and the occasional heartfelt apology, encouraging fans to ‘give us heaps’ for our #epicfail with #oldeasymacisback.
Essentially, everywhere he went for entertainment in the social space, there we were – standing out by blending in seamlessly.
“’The Old EASY MAC is Back’ campaign was absolutely crucial to save the brand from deletion. The digital content and media strategy brought the brand personality to life in a way that truly resonated with our consumers to deliver a strong commercial outcome.”Vivian Ly EASY MAC Brand Manager