Ad of the Day: Athenos

Kraft's feta cheese spokeswoman returns, and still hates (almost) everything about young people

Your cranky, conservative grandmother still thinks you have sex for money. Now, you're just doing it on camera, too.

The Athenos Yiayia (Greek for grandma) is back to offer her disapproving takes on the sun-bathing, video-chatting lifestyles of today's young people—and to pitch the Kraft-owned brand's prepackaged feta cheese. The charmingly cantankerous old woman, conceived and created by Droga5, isn't known to pull punches. Last year, in a spot selling hummus, she opined that a young lady's relatively modest cocktail dress might be better suited for a prostitute. In the new spots, Yiayia mistakes a pool party for a porn set, and berates a woman for marrying a machine—not realizing the husband is pictured on a laptop, and is not the laptop itself. The Athenos tagline: "Maybe the only thing approved by Yiayia." Because that peasant Yiayia … she's impossible to please. But she loves the brand's food! Because it's authentic. She knows, because she's authentic, too. Get it?

The spots walk a fine line: The brand is making an ethnic joke, but isn't really part of the culture it's ribbing. So, anyone arguing that the campaign isn't in the best taste—as some critics did when the last round of ads launched—may have a fair point. Still, most people seem to love them: The humor is pretty harmless—funny, even—and the character, while hyperbolic, seems to capture an endearing and resonant bit of truth about the inter-generational dynamic. So, credit to Kraft for doubling down, rather than backing away, after the original round sparked a minor flap.

At the end of the day, though, we'd wonder if most Greeks wouldn't shy away from the mass-produced Feta bought off the shelves—if only to avoid a dressing-down for not appreciating the feta their Yiayias made from scratch. For shame.

CREDITS

Client Kraft Foods

Brand Athenos

Titles "Video Chat" "Pool Party"

Agency Droga5 New York

Creative Chairman David Droga

Executive Creative Directors Ted Royer / Nik Studzinski

Copywriter / Associate Creative Director Scott Ginsberg

Art Director / Associate Creative Director January Vernon

Head of Integrated Production Sally-Ann Dale

Executive Producer Scott Chinn

Associate Producer Bill Berg

Group Account Director Whitney Radia

Strategy Director Tom Naughton

Production Company Park Pictures

Director Alison Maclean

DOP Tico Poulakakis

Executive Producer Jackie Kelman Bisbee

Producer Cody Ryder

Greek Production Company Central Athens

Editorial Mackenzie Cutler

Editor Dave Anderson

Editorial Assistant Valerie Sachs

Executive Producer Sasha Hirschfeld

Sound Sound Lounge

Mixer Tom Jucarone