Kraft taste tests its Hazelnut Spread with some real Canadian nonnas

Last month, Kraft launched the first advertising for its new hazelnut spread with an ad that directly challenged the category’s dominant brand, Nutella.

The conceit was a trip to Italy, the home of Nutella, to taste-test the new Kraft spread with those who for whom Nutella is part of the cultural fabric. Although sceptical at first, the Italians are shocked at how good the Kraft spread tastes.

The brand is extending the idea with a new social video featuring a similar taste test conducted with some Canadian Italian nonnas. A young woman introduces her nonna to the Kraft hazelnut option before three of her friends join via video chat. With their thick Italian accents, the four nonnas are charming and genuine (except for some clearly prompted observations about the spread being made without palm oil and being low in saturated fats). They, too, seem unsure about the spread at first; naturally, when they try it, they love it.

“Canadians are nostalgic about their hazelnut spreads, but as the challenger brand in the category, an obstacle is encouraging loyal Canadians to give us a try versus others,” said Daniel Gotlib, associate director, brand building and innovation, Kraft Heinz Canada.

With household penetration at just 28% for the category in Canada, Kraft saw a chance to leverage the high brand awareness it has with its peanut butter to introduce hazelnut spread to more households, he said. “Once consumers have tasted Kraft Hazelnut Spread, they love it, and we have seen that through solid trial and repeat rates in only eight months in market,” said Gotlib.

PR agency The Colony Project worked with Daily Hive to produce the Nonnas taste test video.

Kraft is also using social to have some fun with the product’s name, or lack thereof. Using the hashtag #KraftHazelNuts, the company is asking Canadians to suggest a better name for the product for a chance to receive a personalized jar (all of the jars are already gone.)

“There has been some confusion as to what to call our product,” said Gotlib. “So, we wanted to ask consumers what they would call it. The campaign is designed to spark conversation about a new entry into the category, break down category conventions, and inspire trial of the new Kraft Hazelnut Spread.”

So will the company really choose a new name based on consumer responses? “We are curious to see what consumers think we should call it, and, if a really exciting name is revealed, we may consider it in the future,” said Gotlib. The jars initiative was part of the larger branding campaign led by Rethink with The Kitchen handling social elements and Starcom handling media.


David Brown