When the anti-mayo Miracle Whip introduced its edgy, non-conformist campaign last year, it was a bit of a shock to the consumer. The basics: Hipsters wearing hipster outfits, dancing around a kiddie pool, loving life and eating chicken salad (see it below). Peppered throughout, we learn about their stances against being quiet and blending in. Bottom line? Don’t be boring and don’t mess with this particular condiment. While pushing the envelope is generally encouraged if you want your brand to stand out, not every product is well-suited for the holy-crap-that-looks-cool treatment (but we’ll be damned if we don’t attempt it). Miracle Whip does deserve some credit for attempting to stand out, but boy did it backfire.
What’s the Problem? There are plenty of reasons why people were turned off by the ads, just browse the YouTube comments sections for specifics. Sparing those gory details, Miracle Whip grossly miscalculated and ended up insulting the viewer’s intelligence by thinking they would either laugh with or relate to the in-your-face, “We will not tone it down” approach. Everything felt out of place. It looked more like footage from an American Eagle company potluck. If it was done with a wink and a nod, we responded with a facepalm.
Following a jab thrown by TV-host Stephen Colbert, Miracle Whip showed they could laugh at themselves (might as well join the crowd, now) by responding with Colbert-specific TV spots featuring “some cool people dancing.” Albeit with mixed reviews, this faux-spat brought added exposure to Miracle Whip among the (likely) target demographic for the original ads. More brownie points for the guys at Kraft and McGarryBowen! (Note: Brownie Points not redeemable for defending your Ad Age Agency of the Year title.)
Looking back, I imagine someone at Miracle Whip revealing along the way, a desire for their audience to see these ads and feel a sense of joy for the product. Perhaps in the same way as one YouTube user remarked, “Let’s party, I got ‘slaw.”