business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

On Monday in this space, we featured a brief look at a commercial for Kraft’s Devour brand of frozen foods, which the company has been positioning as “food porn” - the commercial suggests, complete with racy double entendres, that Devour is totally addictive.

The commercial was deemed too edgy to be run CBS during Sunday’s Super Bowl, however, so the company had to pull together a somewhat sanitized version for the broadcast. Not surprisingly, the fact that there were two versions gave Kraft and Devour double the bang for its buck, which probably was the point to begin with.

This morning, however, comes more news about the brand … that for one day, it paid for ads on the pornography site Pornhub. The Wall Street Journal notes that “advertising on Pornhub takes the stunt to another level. It stands out particularly as brands take pains to avoid any chance that their ads could appear next to potentially inappropriate content.”

I must admit that for me, this is a bridge too far.

As I said on Monday, I wasn’t offended by the “racy” version of the ad. I thought it was reasonably clever in approach and execution. But I also took seriously email I got from MNB readers suggesting that at this point in history, where the exploitation and abuse of women is a front-and-center cultural issue, an ad making fun of pornography could be considered a little tone-deaf.

Paying to advertise on a real porn site, to my mind, is putting the company out on a limb that it may not want to be on, associating it with content that it needs not be. I cannot imagine that the one day of advertising generated a ton of sales, but it puts the brand at risk.

It is too clever by half, and an Eye-Opener in all the wrong ways.
KC's View: