It is a sad time in history. Our beloved neon orange Kraft Dinner is changing as of 2016. Instead of Yellow Dye #5 and #6, they are replacing it with paprika, annatto and turmeric.
As a former marketer, I know that not all marketing is brilliant. Let us all take a moment of silence to remember “New Coke.” Not all market research actually gets to the right answer either. This is how I imagine the initial discussion went down:
KD Brand Manager: The organics are eating away (ha) at our 1 million boxes of KD sold* per day market share. They had four more boxes sold this month than in previous months. This must be stopped!
Ad Agency Rep: I hear that the other brand uses natural colouring instead of Yellow Dyes.
KD Brand Manager: Why the fuck would they do that? We have been trained to think that cheese is neon orange. Why are they fucking with our market and our mind?
Ad Agency Rep: I don’t know, but maybe we should try it. I hear they add annatto.
Do you see what just went down there in my imaginary meeting? The KD Brand Team will not want to admit they don’t know what annatto is so they will agree to the research. They may even throw in “My niece loves annatto!” because they definitely don’t have kids of their own. If they did, they would never even consider changing Kraft Dinner. Because of the annatto-loving niece and the smart-ass ad agency rep, we are all fucked in less than a year.
They probably even took their new and improved formula to a focus group of moms. A crock load of shit that would accomplish. Here is what, I can only assume, probably happened in that focus group:
Focus Group Facilitator: So you have in front of you two bowls of Mac and Cheese. Which one do you find more appealing?
Moms: They look around the room knowing they are supposed to say the natural-looking one but instinctively wanting to inhale the fluoro-orange one. They don’t want to be judged by the other moms and found out for buying KD instead of the organic one they have been telling the other moms that their sweetums adores.
Moms: Of course, the homemade-like one. The orange one looks fake (bonus marks for that and the sneer face that accompanied it).
Focus Group Facilitator: Now give them each a try. Tell us what tastes better to you. What would you prefer to feed your growing family as they develop their little minds and nourish their bodies and their souls? What would you be proud to serve on a playdate? Be honest.
Essentially the same conversation in the moms’ minds happens and they all admit they like the new improved one better.
“Was that a hint of paprika?” one even adds.
What the Facilitator failed to note on his fancy form, and the people behind the one way glass don’t see as they are swilling champagne and toasting their turmeric genius, is this: Each of those women left that focus group with a small tear welling up in their eyes as they realized they had just contributed to the demise of their beloved KD.
They say yellow dyes are linked to hyperactivity and that is the reason for the change. Have you ever seen the tantrums a toddler who only eats Kraft Dinner for lunch will throw over tasting a new type of mac and cheese? We tried homemade, organic and every other brand on the market, and only KD would calm all of our frazzled nerves and sooth the savage beast.
Did Kraft do that research in focus groups? I think not. Why? Is it because these marketers are generally men, and they are likely at work while their wives are struggling to force-feed their children so they can knock that off the list for the day? Do these same men come home and not look at the recycling when they take it out where, if they looked harder, they would notice the bright yellow and blue KD boxes folded neatly and shoved underneath the organic box that is placed in a high visibility position on top?
In my household, the same empty organic box is balanced where all the neighbours can see it. I grab it from the bin just before the truck leaves and reuse it every week to hide my undying love and addiction to neon orange pasta.
I know there are several vast and inappropriate generalizations in that statement. This is what it looks like when I destabilize because you take away MY yellow dye #5 & #6. This shit gets real.
Kraft, come to your senses. I beg of you. You will definitely see a large spike in KD sales now as we all run to Costco and Walmart to buy up every last box to get us to adolescence when maybe sweetums can give the shit up. But not now. Not when we need you the most. Eight months warning is not nearly enough to put an addition on the house or hire a storage unit for the amount of blue boxes we will need. Be reasonable.
Warning: They are also planning to fuck with Jell-O and Kool-Aid.
* That is an actual statistic. They sell 1 million boxes a day!