Kraft Spreads Real Women of Philadelphia Success to Second Online Season


Can a flagging brand reinvigorate its market via a Web series? Well, TV cook Paula Deen's online video series Real Women of Philadelphia was not the only component in the strategy to boost sales of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese product in 2010. But apparently it didn't hurt. The series focused on cream cheese as a cooking ingredient and invited users to submit their own recipe videos. Produced by Paula Deen Enterprises as well as Digitas and EQAL, the program attracted 1.3 million visits to the online community last year and 40,000 registered users. The companies say that users shared more than 8,200 recipe videos to produce 31.6 million video views. Did that help move the needle? reports that Philadelphia brand cream cheese improved its sales 5.6% last year after several years of flat growth. While the video surely helped, the effort was also fueled by an overall increase in ad spend to $28.9 million in 2010, up from 20.3 million in 2009 and only $8 million in 2008.

The series launched Season 2 this week. Once again, women are asked to create and upload videos walking through their uses of cream cheese as a cooking ingredient. The Philadelphia brand is trying to move away from cream cheese being seen merely as a spread or cheesecake component and more as a cooking staple. It has created a new product line called Philadelphia Cooking Crème that pre-empts the usual vision of the brand as a silver brick just waiting for a butter knife.

This season the Real Women of Philadelphia are encouraged to submit videos in four meal categories (appetizer, side dish, entrée and dessert). The eight-week competition culminates in a live cook-off in which 16 finalists will meet Deen at a June 30 fest in Atlanta, Georgia. They will crown a winner of a $25,000 talent contract.

By creating a community rather than merely a campaign, the Real Women of Philadelphia seemed to turn TV celeb Deen from an endorser into a kind of group leader. The brand could leverage her online success, which translates to nearly 300,000 monthly visitors to her own Web site, the Times reports. Kraft's RWOP program has prominent placement on Deen's own site, with a large marquee ad declaring "I'm back for seconds, y'all."
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