Kraft Navigates Social Backlash from ‘Send Noods’ Campaign

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Not everyone is game for sexy mac n’ cheese. 

In its latest digital campaign, Kraft Heinz celebrated National Noodle Day by encouraging Kraft Macaroni & Cheese lovers to “send noods.” The provocative promotion included a blurred picture of a bowl of mac and cheese, and a play on the misspelling of “nudes.” The first 7,000 consumers using the hashtag #SendNoods, were eligible to have Kraft send a box of Mac & Cheese to friends and family.  

Lynne Galia, a Kraft Heinz spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News that the campaign was intended to “provide comfort” and “make (people) smile."

However, not everyone saw the promotion that way. Kraft received a flood of negative responses on its social media posts, many from parents who thought the theme was inappropriate for young children, who eat a lot of the product. 

One commenter posted, "This is not okay. Don’t you realize that a huge portion of the people who actually eat your mac n’ cheese are children?!" Many commenters matched this sentiment. 

While humor may work in some instances, such as Super Bowl commercials, some consumers think humor can be misplaced. In fact, a new survey shows consumers don’t trust brands to get humor or comedic relief right. Only 21 percent welcomed brands' attempts at lightening the situation, according to a recent survey of 740 consumers from Influence Central’s Insights Panel. In addition, that statistic has remained constant since the onset of COVID, in March, through the end of September.

“Kraft’s failure at humor Kraft-i-ness needs to serve as a stark reminder to brands as we enter the marketing push for the holiday season,” said Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Influence Central. “Sometimes what seems like a crafty creative idea in the planning turns out to be more like the myopic thinking of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This proves especially true at a time when consumers feel anxious about COVID, the economy, and the havoc and upheaval of 2020.”

Regardless of the social backlash, Kraft found success with those who appreciated the joke and a free bowl of comfort. 

"The social promotion resulted in over 20,000 consumers across the country receiving boxes of America’s favorite Kraft Mac and Cheese," Galia told BuzzFeed. "We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received."

Kraft has since removed #SendNoods campaign posts.

Nicole Schuman is a reporter for PRNEWS. Follow her @buffalogal