Kraft Has Jello Issues After 115 Years

Things started to get shaky at Jell-O, the 115-year-old brand within Kraft Foods Group Inc.’s last year.  The brand underwent a complete overhaul, from packaging to the introduction of products to make it something “moms and kids are going to rediscover,” according to Kraft CEO Tony Vernon.

Kraft saw a big decline in gelatin and pudding sales last year and is betting on a new marketing campaign to turn things around.

Though a lot of us have fond memories of it from our youth, Jell-O doesn’t seem to have been benefiting from any consumer sentiment for quite some time. And without our emotions to help, Jell-O’s performance has been about what you’d expect from a gelatin: shaky.

The first decade of the 2000s saw Jell-O trying to sell itself as a viable dessert option for people trying to get in shape. Shockingly, a dessert that jiggles when it moves didn’t market well to an increasingly weight-conscious adult public. So Jell-O’s returning to their old standby: children… They really can be the decision makers in households.

Kraft has already launched new campaigns for classics like Planters, Velveeta and Kool-Aid in recent months, but Jell-O has been slower out of the gate, as the company took months studying how to position the brand

Marketing desserts? Must be rough.

But apparently it is. Dinners featuring dessert are down to just 13.8%, according to NBD, a consumer market research firm. Before we start patting ourselves on the back though, NBD reports it has more to do with the fact that we’re just too lazy. Jell-O requires boiling water and stirring and to many of us, it seems, that’s about four steps too many.

Joining other clever slogans such as “Get Your Chef Together” and “Ship My Pants”, Jello-O’s new “Fun Things Up” will certainly endear itself to consumers still playing kickball. Luckily, that’s the audience they’re after.

Back in May, Kraft also unveiled the #FunMyLife hashtag, though this was only the beginning of the new surge. They recently put their newest commercial from CP&B on YouTube and it’s equal parts awesome and sad.

Kraft certainly seems to be doing everything correctly right out of the gate. And, hey, if Twinkies can enjoy an unprecedented resurgence, there’s no reason Jell-O shouldn’t be able to do the same. Of course, I think we all know the real missing ingredient.


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