For almost a year I had sworn off Cablevision. It was making me poor and I was watching .004% of the programming. For reasons I won’t get into here, I am again a sucker, paying for shows I don’t watch and having to dip into my kids’ college fund to subsidize our idiocy.
So now I catch the occasional commercial. Usually it’s accidental, like when I forget for a moment that I can avoid the commercials and get sucked in by some talking cat or a cool looking car. Or, quite possibly, a cool looking talking car.
Recently I saw a commercial for Kraft’s rebranded salad dressings, which they’ve “named” (or described or positioned as) “Anything Dressings”. I put quotes around the word “named” because I’m not sure if this brand evolution involves as an actual brand name change. The press is certainly convinced it’s a new name, and the blogosphere seems sure of it, but in a lot of ways it’s striking me as a new category descriptor and/or positioning shift.
Up until this rebrand, which has involved new packaging and some pretty funny advertising by Being, Kraft’s dressing names focused on flavor profiles–e.g., Kraft Honey Mustard Dressing, Peppercorn Ranch, etc. Looking at the packaging online (at anythingdressing.com), the emphasis is still very much on the flavor profiles.
Situated at the top of the bottle, directly under the Kraft brand name, you have those same flavor names. “Anything Dressing” appears at the bottom of the bottle and seems to behave more as a descriptor than a brand name. In fact, the word doesn’t even seem to be trademarked. No word-to-the-wise TM symbol next to it. I checked in the register and I didn’t see either an ITU or a registration.
So what is it?
Well, my feeling is that it’s a pretty smart piece of verbal communication. I’m sure some folks are pooh-poohing it, invoking conventional marketing wisdom to suggest that trying to be all things to everyone and lacking focus is brand suicide, but I’m a fan. I think it’s a sound strategy. And here’s why:
Whether you call it a new brand name, a new category descriptor, a positioning shift, or all of the above it’s communicating a clear message and expanding the brand’s meaning. I haven’t followed the dressing category very closely, but I suspect even before they adopted “Anything” they were encouraging consumers to think about dressings differently and to expand their use habits. The introduction of this word on packaging reinforces those ideas and reassures customers that it’s safe to experiment. And of course the more you experiment the more dressing you’ll need. Experiment. More dressing. Experiment. More dressing. Ka-ching.
Supporting the initiative is a cleanly designed website with (conveniently named) “Dresscipes”–i.e., suggested recipes that incorporate the various dressings.
Taking the time to develop the Dresscipes was smart, though not surprising. They serve as a bridge to those new use habits, reassuring folks that these concoctions can be used in a variety of different ways and in different preparations. Like a clever mom, Kraft is showing her dubious children that chicken is more versatile than you think. Sure, it’s delicious when processed into little cubes and fried to crunchy perfection. But there are other ways to enjoy Chicken, and here are some examples.
Some people will take the word too literally, complain that it’s misleading. Could it be that Kraft is suggesting I put this Tomato Sesame dressing on my Cookies & Cream ice cream?? Um, probably not. While stranger combinations than Tomatoes and Cookies have probably been explored, it’s unlikely Kraft is suggesting you put the dressings on and in literally “anything”. Is American Express literally “everywhere” I want to be? Is a diamond truly “Forever”? Is Disneyland really the “happiest” place on earth? Is every “Complete” product truly complete? And, man, if your cat is asking for Meow-Mix by name I want to meet your pet.
Let’s be sensible. It just means the dressings can be used for a lot more than just salad. But you know what, if you’re feeling inspired go ahead and create that culinary mash. Who knows, maybe tomatoes and chocolate cookies are delectable together.
Way to go, Kraft. Whatever it is you’ve created here my feeling is that it’s dressed for success.
Overall Grade: A