Kraft offers reimbursements for cream cheese stockouts

Discussion
Source: spreadthefeeling.com
Dec 22, 2021

With cream cheese in short supply and cheesecakes a seasonal favorite, Kraft, the owner of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, launched a campaign to reimburse customers for up to $20 spent making or buying a non-cheesecake dessert during the holiday season.

“This is not an empty shelf, it’s a holiday tradition waiting another year,” Philadelphia said in a YouTube video about the promotion. “This year, turn that famous cheesecake into those famous brownies. … Share some cookies, anything that will make you feel anything in that cheesecake-shaped hole in your holiday heart.”

Individuals hoping to participate in the campaign were encouraged to visit a special website, spreadthefeeling.com, to reserve a spot to get reimbursed for a free dessert. Kraft promised to choose as many as 18,000 participants on Dec. 17-18. Reservations on both days sold out quickly. Lucky participants were instructed to submit their receipt for any replacement dessert bought between December 17 – 24 for up to a $20 reimbursement.

The cream cheese shortage has been partly caused by a cyberattack on the biggest U.S. cheese manufacturer, Schreiber Foods in Wisconsin, according to Bloomberg. However, it also reflects supply chain factors such as ingredient and packaging materials scarcity and truck driver shortages that have led to shortages in other categories as well. People baking at significantly higher rates than usual is another contributing factor.

Cream cheese is hardly the only product customers have had trouble finding since the beginning of the pandemic.

In the early days, panic buying led to stockouts on staples and disinfectants. Eggs, pasta and flour soon disappeared from shelves as a home cooking trend took off.

Since early 2021, supply chain disruptions attributed to both shipping bottlenecks and stateside labor shortages have brought back out-of-stocks challenges for U.S. grocers. Many expect the challenges to last through at least the first half of 2022. According to a recent article from Axios Charlotte, Publix was imposing two-item limits on 18 categories, including bacon, coconut flakes, frozen pie shells, half and half, vegetable oil and jarred gravy.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Kraft’s move to turn shortages of cream cheese into a marketing opportunity? Does the “Spread the Feeling” campaign offer any lessons to other brands or categories on how to turn an out-of-stock disappointment into a customer win?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"This is exactly the type of creative thinking that brands should be doing to help stay connected to their customers."
"I’m not ready to hop on the bandwagon with this. I just went to Spread the Feeling website and it said all rewards have been claimed. That would upset me."
"Not to gloat, but I enjoyed my bagel with a schmear of Philly about an hour ago…yet the great cream cheese shortage of 2021 is for real."

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12 Comments on "Kraft offers reimbursements for cream cheese stockouts"


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Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This is exactly the type of creative thinking that brands should be doing to help stay connected to their customers. It’s an expensive campaign, but it may prove to get people back to using the Kraft brand over alternatives when supply chain issues are in the rear view mirror. This is how you turn lemons into lemonade.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Brilliant move by Kraft. Wow, this is one of the better plays I’ve seen by a CPG in a long time. Honestly, this has goodness written all over it from start to finish. A passionate cook and baker can really appreciate this offer and it’s no surprise that slots were sold out quickly. Now, the Philly brand would be well advised to figure out its supply chain disruptions and get product back on shelves as soon as they can.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

This is a transparent, creative move to address frustrating stockouts in a way that can be positive for consumers. This is the type of thinking brands and retailers need to embrace in the face of the supply chain crisis. Communicating and compensating will ensure an emotional connection is maintained with customers. Well done, Kraft.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

Kraft is shrewd to take the lead on consumer communication about product issues. Rather than acknowledging only, they take it the extra step to apologize and offer the consumer something in return which creates greater engagement. We’ll take that (with a schmear of cream cheese) every day.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Good for Kraft for turning a negative position on cream cheese into a positive holiday experience. While the “Spread the Feeling” campaign is kind of a hassle to execute, it demonstrates that Kraft cares enough about their customers during this holiday season to offer them a replacement dessert for their missing cream cheese at the grocery store.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

Not to gloat, but I enjoyed my bagel with a schmear of Philly about an hour ago…yet the great cream cheese shortage of 2021 is for real. I think this is a clever way for Kraft to maintain some goodwill among its brand-loyal customers, but it needs to pull out the stops (including finding other suppliers) to fix the problem soon. This particular supply chain issue is baffling to most shoppers, and marketing will only go so far if you have no product to sell.

Paula Rosenblum
BrainTrust

As long as they don’t find a way to blame the consumer (“people baking more pies?” Seriously?), it’s good to acknowledge the reality and give it a positive spin.

Now if someone could just tell me where all the half and half has gone, while the shelves are stocked with milk, I’ll be quiet. Bad enough I can’t have my daily schmear — but no cream in my coffee goes beyond unacceptable, somehow it must be the consumer’s fault.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Wow! Talk about getting into the heart and mind of the consumer. This is a promotion that the participants will never forget and it will build a brand loyalty that is as solid as it gets.

I can’t participate though. Friday I bought three 8oz packages of Philly for the traditional holiday cheesecake (over 70 years of tradition). But nowhere could I find Nabisco Honey Graham Cracker Crumbs. Don’t fret — my wife will just take Honey Graham Crackers and put them in the blender.

Joel Rubinson
BrainTrust

I’m not ready to hop on the bandwagon with this. I just went to Spread the Feeling website and it said all rewards have been claimed. That would upset me. In addition, there is no explanation given to consumers about the shortages. Consumers want information about why this happened and when it will get better. So I’d give Kraft’s effort a failing grade.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

A terrific preemptive move to allay customer concerns. The only downside risks are perhaps switching consumers permanently away from a holiday cheesecake and any frustrations from attempting to acquire the reimbursement form. Nonetheless, a terrific marketing idea.

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

Bravo, Kraft, for turning a disappointing situation into a win. Kraft is connecting with shoppers in a creative way at this special time of year. Other CPG companies surely must be thinking of ways to do the same if stock-outs are an issue for them.

Carlos Arambula
BrainTrust

It’s a very clever promotion to change the narrative on a negative brand experience for consumers.

When circumstances, regardless of cause, adversely affect a brand, the last thing marketers should do is remain silent. Control the narrative, empathize with consumers and bring them along in the road to recovery.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"This is exactly the type of creative thinking that brands should be doing to help stay connected to their customers."
"I’m not ready to hop on the bandwagon with this. I just went to Spread the Feeling website and it said all rewards have been claimed. That would upset me."
"Not to gloat, but I enjoyed my bagel with a schmear of Philly about an hour ago…yet the great cream cheese shortage of 2021 is for real."

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