What Would Satan Do? (Lean In, Of Course)

Few brands are more wholesome than Honey Maid, right? Think s’mores around the campfire, or dunking them straight-up into a glass of milk. Family-bonding, nurturing, nostalgic. Attributes many brands would kill for. So what happens when you’re a senior marketing guy who conceives a campaign to showcase the brand in connection with non-traditional families: gay, bisexual, multi-racial, tattoo fetishists, you name it? You get called, “Satan,” explained Gary Osifchin, senior marketing director of the Wholesome Sweet, Entrepreneurial Brands and Channels at Mondelez International, during a keynote presentation at OMMA Video.

When the video ads hit YouTube, and companion TV spots hit the air, Osifchin said, he and his colleagues were called everything in the book -- that the campaign was an “abomination” and that it was “normalizing sin.”

The team’s response: stick with it, because the campaign’s underlying theme -- that family connections are important -- was an important one to keep getting out there.

Fortunately, the positive responses outweighed the negative ones 10-to-one.

But where do you go from there? If you’re the Honey Maid brand management team, you lean into it. No, make that, “we ran” into it by literally taking all of the negative comments, printing them out, and then giving them to two artists to turn into a spectacular piece of artwork spelling out, you guessed it, the word, “love.”

“I don’t know a brand that has done this,” Osifchin said, referring to leveraging the power of negative comments.

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