< 1 Min Read
No Cream Cheese? No Problem
Philadelphia Cream Cheese turned a holiday shortfall into a marketing gift.
Like many other manufacturers, the brand was facing product shortages late last year with the holidays fast approaching.
In Philadelphia’s case, the shortages weren’t just the result of labor issues and supply chain disruptions plaguing other manufacturers. A November cyberattack on a leading U.S. cheese manufacturer rocked inventories nationwide.
Nevertheless, Philadelphia was facing a holiday season with its cream cheese coffers a little light.
It responded with a marketing campaign that grabbed control of the narrative and drove a ton of PR coverage.
Its “Spread the Feeling” campaign acknowledged that cream cheese might be hard to come by as families looked to put cheesecakes on holiday table. So, it offered to reimburse customers who had to buy other dessert ingredients.
“If you can’t spread Philly, spread the feeling,” the campaign’s tagline read.
The company committed to giving away tens of thousands of $20 vouchers over a two day period.
The response was so great, Philadelphia doubled the number of giveaways on the second day. Even so, all the vouchers were claimed in mere minutes each day.
In hindsight, it’s easy to see why the campaign was a success. But the move was still a risk – with a significant price tag attached to it.
Most brands tend to shy away from negative industry trends such as supply shortages. Philadelphia embraced its role in a larger story while offering up an angle of its own.
By creating a time-sensitive campaign tied to the brand’s positive holiday connotations, Philadelphia shifted the narrative around cream cheese shortages and generated a ton of media and consumer buzz in the process.