NEW YORK Kraft Foods' Miracle Whip brand is dipping its toes into social utilities with a browser application that lets users share comments on Web-based content via their social networks.
Zingr is a Firefox plug-in that taps into users' social networks and allows them to leave comments on various Web pages across the Internet. After downloading the plug-in and verifying their Facebook information, users can append comments up to 160 characters on Web pages. The comments appear as small, expandable Zingr dialog boxes that can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the page.
The "Zings" are then broadcast to users' networks on Facebook and Twitter, if those features are enabled. Clicking on the link brings up the Web page showing Zings accumulated from within a visitor's network. They will not see Zings left by others. The Zings do not include the Miracle Whip logo.
The app is part of an effort by Miracle Whip to appeal to a younger audience with its "We will not tone it down" ad campaign. On its site, Miracle Whip bills Zingr as "the newest way to add your own flavor to the Web." The messages are meant to be short and snappy.
"What we're trying to do with Miracle Whip is really get to our target of 18 to 34 who grew up on brand. Many of them have just stopped using the category" said Chris Kempczinski, svp of marketing for meals and enhancers at Kraft. "This campaign was about reengaging with 18- to 34-year-olds. The biggest place to go after them is in digital, and a big part of what they're doing there is in social media."
Miracle Whip digital shop AKQA created Zingr. Digitas handled media planning and buying.
Like any brand utility, Miracle Whip's will compete with offerings from independent developers. Other tools exist that boast similar features. Kutano, for example, has a plug-in that lets users leave comments on any Web page that can be seen by other Kutano users. Reframe It offers a comparable service.
Zingr also faces several hurdles like any new social tool: it needs lots of user participation to be useful.
Miracle Whip hopes the use of Facebook Connect, which allows third-party developers to tap into users' social network, will spread Zingr (and the brand) far and wide. Leaving a "zing" on Kraft's site, for example, triggers this message to a user's Twitter network: "I just left a Zing! On brands.kraftfoods.com Check it out: http://tinyurl.com/oorhaa#Zing!"
The subtle branding was a tradeoff to make sure Zingr didn't appear "too corporate," Kempczinski said. But Miracle Whip will benefit from its own association with "zing," he said. "If we can get 'zing' adopted as part of the digital vernacular, it will be tied into everything else we're doing."
If users clicking through don't have Zingr, they're prompted to download the application.
AKQA is promoting the application through Facebook and ads on digital savvy sites like Digg, Reddit and sites in the Federated Media network. Next month, plans call for the campaign to expand to youth and entertainment sites.
"It's a pretty cool app," Kempczinski said. "Even if you're not a Miracle Whip lover, you can fall in love with the app and hopefully you'll fall in love with Miracle Whip along the way." An Internet Explorer version will be released in the next few weeks, he added.
Zingr is available on MiracleWhip.com and its Facebook page.