The Velveeta Shortage: Example of, um, a ‘Cheesy’ PR Strategy?

VelveetaWith under a month to go until Super Bowl XLVIII, (48 for those of you who struggle with Latin numbers) one of your favorite Sunday snacks may be in danger of missing the big game.

Reports of shortages of Kraft’s Velveeta have been circulating recently, and according to an AdvertisingAge report, the “prepared cheese product” may not be available at some grocery stores until mid-February due to a plant issue.

Velveeta, known as "Liquid Gold" to some, is an important ingredient in many favorite game day snacks—think queso dip and cheeseburgers. A shortage could drive sales even higher than usual this winter, as anxious cheese-lovers start clearing the shelves of the product where it remains in stock.

Kraft insists that the shortage is not a PR stunt, and two Fall 2013 memos warn of shortages due to moving Velveeta production to a new plant. “We informed our retail customers a few months ago about the supply challenges and we’ve been working hard to adjust distribution accordingly,” says Kraft spokeswoman Jody Moore. The Velveeta team also recently posted a message to its official tumblr, saying the "Cheesepocalypse" is real.

Still, vestiges of the bacon shortage hoax, the Twinkies interlude and the reportedly approaching wine shortage linger in the minds of snackers.

Is the Velveeta shortage an example of cheesy PR? Let us know what you think.

Follow Brian Greene: @bwilliamgreene

  • JDLC

    The first thing that crossed my mind when I heard this on the news was “publicity stunt.” How can there be a shortage of Velveeta? The stuff never goes bad! The reasons offered were so vague that it seemed very cheesy indeed.

  • BradPRJohnson

    Haven’t seen such a good, cheesy #PR stunt like this in a while. I say, Brilliant!

  • Amanda Powell

    PR stunts are not a great representation of these big company brands. Yes, it creates buzz and probably great sales numbers, but I believe it lowers audience trust and confidence.

  • Don sassano

    “Plant issue”? Yeah, heard there was this fungus blighty thing that wreaked havoc on the crop.