Why Kraft Is ‘Pheeling’ Good About Cream Cheese

Kraft Foods is introducing a new campaign behind its Philadelphia cream cheese, playing up the emotional connections consumers feel with the brand.

New ads show the various uses for cream cheese, and use the word “pheeling” (a combination of “Philly” and “feeling”) to describe a happy state of mind. One spot, breaking next Monday, reinforces this theme by showing a boy spreading cream cheese on a bagel for his mother, a husband and wife indulging in an evening snack of strawberries and cream cheese, and a girl helping her grandmother prepare dessert for the family. In each instance, the people smile and laugh together because of moments created by Philadelphia cream cheese.

The music in the background, “Something to Remember,” by the band Life-Sized Humans, is also the first time Philadelphia has had an original jingle and song written for a campaign. Kraft is offering 20,000 free downloads of the song on its site, Spreadphilly.com.

Like its previous campaign for Philadelphia, which focused on cream cheese as a snack, the goal is to get consumers thinking about the product more often, said Chitra Ebenezer, marketing director for the brand. This time, however, there is an added emphasis on Philadelphia’s usage in cooking and baking, she said.

Recipe usages such as mixing it into mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and spaghetti sauce to lend a creamy texture are actually growing, Ebenezer said, with cooking accounting for approximately 23 percent of Philadelphia’s volume. Breakfast and bagel usage, however, is still by far the highest (60 percent), though the figure also accounts for spreads on snacks, such as crackers or vegetables.

Philadelphia is currently the No. 1 cream cheese in the brick and soft tub business. The closest contender is private label, including those sold by Schreiber Foods, the nation’s largest maker of private label cream cheese. For the 52 weeks ended Aug. 9, dollar sales of Kraft’s brick cream cheese (those sold in butter stick form) rose 3.34 percent, or $253 million, per IRI. Kraft’s soft tub segment, a $235 million business, dropped 4.05 percent due to growth from private label (up 11.02 during the same period). Data does not include Walmart sales.

To promote wider use of its cream cheese, Kraft will also run print ads in the October and November issues of Martha Stewart, People, Redbook and Country Living. One ad shows two women, side by side, smiling (one holds a bagel) and the phrase, “it just pheels better.” Another focuses on new recipes with phrases like “stir up a pheeling” atop a bowl of “creamy and extra tasty” mashed potatoes. Tagline: “Spread a little Philly.” Agencies involved in the campaign include mcgarrybowen, Chicago, Mediavest, Digitas, Edelman and AKQA.

Ebenezer said the new ads, television in particular, give Philadelphia a more “down to earth” feeling, as they emphasize the moments people have with each other when consuming the product.

Allan Meyerson, executive creative director at Group360, a strategic marketing communications firm, said the use of “pheeling” in Philadelphia’s new advertising is a “subtle” way to get consumers snacking.

The phrase, “I feel like something” [is] something you say to yourself when you’re [about to have] a snack,” Meyerson said. “It is completely ownable and there is no other brand out there who can evoke that feeling the way they are able to.”

Kraft spent  $15 million advertising its Philadelphia cream cheese brand in 2008. Through June of this year, measured media spending on the brand was $14 million, excluding online, per Nielsen.