Think you’ve heard it all, when it comes to food marketing to children? Well, sit tight and hold onto your coloring books. Kraft Foods is now marketing and promoting, to kids, string cheese that looks just like Crayola crayons. Kraft has joined forces with the crayon manufacturer, for an in-store promotion that runs through October of 2012. The colorful cheese is known as Kraft String Cheese west of Pittsburgh, and is marketed as Polly-O String Cheese east of Pittsburgh.
The outer package resembles a box of Crayola crayons. Each individual piece of cheese is perfectly packaged to look like a crayon in one of six traditional Crayola colors. The package also includes a $3 coupon for Crayola Crayons and includes a link to printable, web activities pages that are designed to inspire the creativity of young cheese lovers – and crayon lovers — everywhere. But, I ask this as a marketing expert who loves off the wall marketing strategies and wacky marketing– it begs the question – won’t young children be confused? Won’t they see a box of crayons and munch away on them, thinking that these arts-and-crafts supplies are in fact string cheese?
Marlene Sawhney, the associate brand manager, Cheese Marketing, at Kraft, says that the promotion targets “a mom of 6- to 12-year-old children who raises them to become well-rounded adults. Crayola focuses on unleashing a kid’s creativity for them to grow up and inspire the world. Since Kraft and Polly-O String Cheese are wholesome snacks that kids love, mom feels that it helps them teach their children how to make smart decisions.”
Critics of this kind of marketing to children may find this marketing campaign to be confusing and damaging to children of all ages. In response to any criticism, Kraft explains, “Consumers love the packaging, especially the individual crayons, as well as the activity pages that are offered online.”