Back in June, Miracle Whip broadcasted its condiment manifesto to Gen Y. Punctuated with the official quivery chalkboard script of all advertising-spawned youth movements and set to a swaying, polyethnic crowd kickin' it kiddie-pool style, a bored (yet defiant!) voice-over proclaims: "We are our own unique, one-of-a-kind flavor. We are Miracle Whip. And we will not tone it down."
Hmmm. A hipster decree from a 76-year-old sandwich spread most famous for its supporting role in my great aunt's deviled eggs? The campaign was hard to swallow.
Kraft's spokeswoman, when asked about the campaign, explained "we want Miracle Whip to be a part of the conversation." But self-impressed monologues are not conversation. Thankfully for Kraft, one mayo lover decided to voice his outrage, and in the ensuing debate, Miracle Whip's voice finally found the right tone.
In mid-October, Stephen Colbert slammed Miracle Whip's attempt to be a "Cool" Whip with an enthusiastic on-air defense of mayonnaise. He called mayo the "illest condiment in the hiz-ouse" and threatened to "open a jar of Miracle Whoop-ass." Miracle Whip now had a sparring partner that lent a healthy dollop of another Gen-Y staple: irony.
The shift in tone from pompous proclamation to sarcastic self-parody transforms the voice and helps Miracle Whip speak more directly and credibly to its target audience than the original spots ever could. Perhaps Miracle Whip got lucky, or (as some suggest) Colbert was in cahoots from the beginning. Regardless, the real proof that the new strategy is succeeding will be measured in sales, not impressions.
Can brand voice convince Millenials to move from mayo to Miracle Whip when dressing their recession-worthy sandwich or potato salad? Time will tell. But hopefully next time Miracle Whip starts acting too-cool-for-school, they'll crack their 80s yearbook and remember not to take themselves too seriously.