Kraft Keeps Salty Talk With Athenos Campaign

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Kraft signaled that it’s taking a whole new approach to marketing with its opportunistic hiring of the golden-voiced former homeless man, Ted Williams, in January.

Despite Williams’ dulcet tones, the children featured in those macaroni and cheese spots have been a little cheeky, saying “screwed up” and “piehole” as they roll their eyes at their parents.

Now the CPG giant is continuing on the profane theme, featuring a blunt-talking grandmother as the face (and potty mouth) of its Athenos brand.[more]

In the new campaign for Kraft’s Athenos yogurt and hummus, a Greek “Yiayia” grandmother character, in her old country garb, tsk-tsks twenty-somethings in the ads for violating her traditional morals.

In one, Yiayia castigates a young woman for dressing “like a prostitute.” In another, the feisty old lady tells a couple they’re “going to hell” for living together without being married. In a third, a stay-at-home dad is ridiculed in front of his kids. What to make of this?

Greek cultural arbiters can’t seem to agree on whether this is a welcome depiction, a merely acceptable one, or a despicable one. Among Kraft’s other stabs at authenticity for the spots was that they were cast and filmed in Greece.

Kraft, as it ramps up marketing for Athenos, is just hoping that the brazen approach catches on, maybe going viral in a big way — and at least selling more Athenos. It’s the first-ever TV campaign for the brand. 

Sales of Greek-style products are booming, threatening to close in on $1-billion a year in the US after almost nothing a few years ago. So no matter what the final verdict on the ads — YouTube commenters seem to find the campaign amusing — Kraft is likely to keep selling a lot more Athenos.

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