Oscar Mayer introduces extensive brand refresh with pop-art ads

Dive Brief:

  • Oscar Mayer, the 138-year-old packaged foods label owned by Kraft Heinz, is enacting an extensive brand overhaul that emphasizes unity and light-hearted, abstract fun, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • The move includes a reworking of Oscar Mayer’s logo, packaging and assets like its Wienermobile vehicle. A campaign called “Keep it Oscar” — the brand’s first major effort with creative agency of record (AOR) Johannes Leonardo — promotes the changes through ads that try to capture a pop-art vibe.
  • Oscar Mayer is extending the experimental mindset to its media strategy with GIFs and its first five-second TV ads. The packaged foods marketer joins others in the category that are attempting to modernize their image to appeal to a broader consumer base.

Dive Insight:

Oscar Mayer is trying to bring a stronger sense of cohesion and modernity to its brand through the “Keep it Oscar” platform. The overhaul aims to better link various aspects of the Kraft Heinz label’s assets while remaining uncomplicated, with packaging that more prominently features its “never square” logo and Wienermobile iconography. Branding agency BrandOpus assisted with the design decisions.

A more forward-thinking approach is reflected in the media strategy for “Keep it Oscar.” Oscar Mayer is deploying mobile-minded formats like GIFs along with short-form TV and online video ads. The creative itself is more centered on communicating a vibe than telling a traditional story. A spot titled “Laser Eyes,” running in five- and 15-second versions, shows a toddler levitating and cooking an Oscar Mayer wiener using superpowers. Another ad, “Dancing Bacon,” depicts exactly what its title implies.

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“Our quick hit, delightfully odd ‘meat content’ unites the OM portfolio, breaking away from traditional commercial advertising with almost no narratives or explanations and leaving the viewer with all of the humorous parts they crave,” said Rachel Frederick, creative director at Johannes Leonardo, in a press statement.

Johannes Leonardo took over creative AOR duties for Oscar Mayer and sister brands Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Kraft Singles in January. The shop also handles the Bagel Bites, Classico Pasta Sauce, Ore-Ida and Velveeta Cheese accounts, per AgencySpy.

Kraft Heinz is trying to revitalize its legacy offerings and extend a sales boost driven by the pandemic, which led many consumers — including elusive young cohorts — to buy more packaged foods brands they’d previously shunned. As an economic recovery and reopening start to take shape, more innovative branding could help keep labels like Oscar Mayer top of mind.

Failing to sustain consumer interest in offerings like Oscar Mayer presents an existential problem for Kraft Heinz. The company wrote down the value of its Kraft and Oscar Mayer brands by $15.4 billion two years ago.

Kraft Heinz plans to save about $2 billion in costs over the next several years by streamlining its operations, including through the creation of six platforms managing its products and cutting one-fifth of its products, according to Insider. The company reports its first-quarter results on Thursday, April 29.

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