Announcing Healthier Ingredients ... By Not Announcing Them

Keeping healthier ingredients quiet so the same great taste could talk

Most brands shout it from the rooftops when they drop artificial ingredients, but Kraft Macaroni & Cheese isn't most brands. It's the ultimate comfort food, and consumers needed reassurance that changes wouldn't make it less comforting.

To ensure people understood that “it’s changed, but it hasn’t,”  we opted not to announce the change at all (aside from updating the ingredient panel) for three months, enough time for the brand to sell 50 million boxes. That way, people would try it, not notice any difference, and be pleasantly surprised to learn, after the fact, that their favorite comfort food was just as comfortable.

After three months had passed and 50 million boxes had sold, we shouted the news from the rooftops via a PR blitz that delivered major stories in hundreds of outlets, including Fortune, the New York Times and Washington Post. The message: “We took all the artificial preservatives, flavors and dyes out of Kraft Mac & Cheese and you didn’t notice.” And we also utilized seeding, sharing product and our story with celebrities with a known fondness for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. This approach yielded earned, unpaird social posts from A-list celebrities such as Mindy Kaling, Jim Gaffigan, Sheryl Crow, Marisa Miller, Meghan McCain and Tyler Posey, adding significant reach and talk value to the program.

The results were off the charts: 

  • One billion earned impressions, with 92% positive sentiment, in just three weeks.
  • Traffic to the brand’s website rose 291% during the month of the reveal.
  • And, most importantly, a double-digit sales increase during the four-week period following the reveal.            

"A stroke of marketing genius, a clever antidote to a problem many other companies have failed to overcome." - The Washington Post

    Jay Chiat Awards for Strategic Excellence: Winner, Grand Prix; winner, Best Use of National Strategy

    The One Show: Winner, Gold, Brand Transformation; winner, Silver, Integrated Branding; winner, Merit, Media Relations.

    North America SABRE Awards: Winner, Food & Beverage

    Innovation SABRE Awards: Winner, Earned Media (digital/traditional); runner up, Best in Show.

    PR Week Awards: Finalist, Product Brand Development Campaign of the Year


    Jay Chiat Awards