Kraft Creates PR Crisis with ‘Send Noods’ Campaign

Kimberly Surico |
 10/23/20 |
5 min read

kraft pr crisis send noods

Trying a new approach to engage with your audience, without fully analyzing the associated consumer intelligence and market intelligence available can lead to unfortunate outcomes. And you don’t have to take our word for it, Kraft recently offered a ready PR crisis example with its ‘Send Noods’ campaign, which we’ll explore below.

Wondering how brands can use consumer intelligence to ensure their campaign goes off without a hitch? This will help:

  • The handwriting on the wall reveals all – social media listening illustrates what people love.
  • Why ‘Sending Noods’ failed as a campaign and avoiding the same mistakes.
  • How to ensure your next marketing gig hits the bullseye with consumers.

And keep these PR crisis stats in mind:

We’ll start with a campaign that performed wonderfully and that could have informed and warned against “send noods.”

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Kraft Won Over Moms with Breakfast

Kraft Mac & Cheese just rebranded its food for children’s breakfasts by successfully identifying a pandemic trend and attracting lots of parents to the brand. Social listening reveals moms talking about this cheesy option on their social media . . .


And the conversation didn’t stop there, social media analytics reveals that breakfast food is quite a large subject and Mac & Cheese has its own little cluster – not even pancakes get that . . .


Digging deeper into the consumer insights reveals sentiments surrounding this new favored breakfast option, saying it’s yummy and good. Additionally, it’s being discussed by way of hashtags, from a mother’s social media food diary post to meaty options to serve with these little noodles…


A Swing and a Miss

But then something went awry . . . As quickly as Kraft had gained such favor and had drawn in new consumers, they began to lose approval – all due to one campaign that was a tad too risqué for the mom crowd:


This ‘Send Noods’ marketing ploy didn’t sit well in people’s stomachs, and Kraft quickly found themselves trying to neutralize a crisis. And with only 45% of PR communicators saying they having a documented crisis communications plan, consistent social media monitoring is critical as it could have prevented a crisis in the first place.

As a result, Kraft erased all presence of the ‘Send Noods’ campaign which resulted in 20,000 free boxes of mac & cheese being sent to lovers of the brand, and Kraft finding itself accused of being predatory.

How did a brand that was so right during the pandemic get this new campaign so wrong? Consumer intelligence shows us the way….

The Short-lived ‘Send Noods’ Campaign

It sounded like a good idea at the time, even a funny way to grab consumers’ attention, but not all good ideas should see the light of day. And social listening can – and should – help any brand seeking guidance before launching a new campaign. Because, if consumers know how to do one thing – it’s talk on their social media platforms about you!

Our sentiment wheel below shows that it’s not all bad. Mainly positive sentiment, and yes, some negative as well. Each of these sections can be clicked on to explore the posts behind it, giving us a detailed view of the consumer conversation.


Following the word ‘Tired’, we end up at one person’s tweet about the ‘Nood’ campaign…And they are sick of hearing about it.


But others feel that their messaging was inappropriate enough to bring awareness – and a boycott – to it. Brian here thinks that Kraft sexualized a product that targeted kids.


And social listening further reveals that some believe Kraft was plain wrong in their campaign messaging and using ‘Send Noods’ was even potentially unethical.


Consumer intelligence further illustrates the importance of social media monitoring when we look at parents concerned with kid safety online.

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Parents Hyper-Vigilant About Predators

Our conversation cluster below around Child Safety is divided into digestible segments. Child Abuse takes number one, and not surprisingly Online Child Safety and Social Media & Child Predators take 3rd and 4th. And Netflix Film ‘Cuties’ is second. Parents are primed and ready for all things evil chasing after their kids’ attention online:


Just like Kraft, Netflix felt the sting of losing. They did such an amazing job at keeping us entertained earlier in the year too. Tiger King Joe was all-encompassing and kept us distracted from the pandemic and the worries that came with it. However, they missed a cue when it came to ‘Cuties’ and the message many felt it conveyed, relating to child sexualization. Doing a quick search on the internet yields oodles of articles on this subject:


Costly mistakes like these are avoidable and social media analytics offers brands sure footing in an unsteady landscape.

Steps Brands Can Take to Avoid a Similar Fate

We learn by failing and then applying what we know to our next attempt. And this is also how we win. No one knows that better than Burger King . .

It’s been a bumpy road for a lot of people and brands in 2020, but Burger King isn’t one of them. Perhaps, their guffaw with their Russian Burger King Campaign in 2019 taught them to listen a little closer to what consumers are saying.

Burger King franchises in Russia posted that women could win a lifetime supply of burgers, plus a sizable amount of cash if they had a child with a World Cup soccer player. Obviously, this zany idea went over terribly, and the royal company issued an apology admitting their wrongdoing – and exemplifying that not every idea needs to see the light of day.

Since then, they have been making all the right moves and have launched many successful campaigns from the Impossible Whopper to their mold gold experiment  and finally getting social distancing right with giant sombrero-like crowns.


Perhaps they’re using social media monitoring to guide them in their steps. After all, 65% of PR professionals agree that big data analytics is an indispensable skill to have.

Consumer Intelligence & Competitive Intelligence in Action

For example, if Burger King wanted to release a new breakfast item targeting the same demographic of consumers who love Mac & Cheese, this competitive intelligence search around Mac and Cheese Breakfast offers up segmented subjects to explore:


To see which of these clusters has the most positive sentiment along with highest engagement, we look to our Scatter Plot revealing that Cooking Breakfast with Kids is our winner for over-all popularity:


Exploring consumer insights reveals that parents may be cooking more for their kids out of concern for health, so perhaps a healthier breakfast option that appeals to both parent and child would be a smart idea:


Having this information helps a brand understand their audience and gives a company a chance to beta test before going into full publish mode.

And it’s equally important to consistently monitor this conversation too, as it can change in minutes. That’s where a timeline view comes in handy. Cooking with Kids saw larger spikes at the end of August, but saw some interest waning as it approached October. It seems to have found its voice again though, as October 4th shows another jump:


The intel is there for the taking and brands are taking unnecessary risks when they do not take advantage of it. A brand can’t afford to go in blind and hope their campaign succeeds, having consumer intelligence is one way to be sure your next big marketing strategy doesn’t result in a costly PR crisis. Take a moment to reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how it can help your brand, specifically!

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