Behind the Manischewitz Rebranding

Last week, Manischewitz introduced its first major rebranding in over 20 years, including a redesign.

The effort attempts to broaden the 130-year-old company’s appeal, as it also expands its reach with new products -- including its first frozen food entry.

CPG Insider caught up with Shani Seidman, CMO of Manischewitz parent company Kayco, and Elie Rosenfeld, CEO of longtime Manischewitz agency partner Joseph Jacobs Advertising to discuss the strategy behind the rebranding, how it came to life, and what’s next for Manischewitz.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

CPG Insider: What led to the decision to launch the initiative now? What makes this different than prior attempts to broaden the brand’s audience?

Shani Seidman: We’ve been working on this rebrand with global branding agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR) for over two years. It wasn’t just a design facelift, a lot of brand identity work went into the rebrand.

We went into this rebrand with the strategy to appeal to a wider audience. The ownership strategy for Kayco all along has been to do this for the brand. 

During the calendar year, we decided on a launch around Passover, which is like the Jewish Super Bowl: all our products hit the shelves at once, and this will help with shelf appeal. It’s also a time we use to introduce new products. We felt like if we want to appeal to core consumers and invite new consumers to join us, it was the time to attract them.

The difference from previous attempts to broaden the audience is that as opposed to prior efforts to get out of the Kosher section, this time we felt we could make the Kosher aisle a destination.

More consumers than ever want to expand their culinary experiences. The brand had an opportunity to say “If you want to try Jewish food and explore new culinary adventures, come try out matzoh ball soup or rugelach.”

CPG Insider: What led the brand to enter the frozen foods category with frozen matzoh ball soup? What does this rebranding and the introduction of new items allow the brand to accomplish?

Rosenfeld: It allows the brand to re-excite not only our core audience who knows us for being traditional and having the authority to bring them traditional foods, but selling them in an innovative format allows us to be an innovative brand.

The culturally curious in the supermarket might not be as attracted to something they see as older. If they see something that is in a more modern packaging and environment, or in an innovative use format, they’ll be more likely to jump on it.

CPG Insider: How did you approach balancing the brand’s long tradition and appeal to longtime customers with reaching a new audience?

Seidman: It’s actually because we’ve stayed so traditional and true to our roots that allows us to appeal to new consumers. More than ever, consumers want authentic brand identity that keeps true to tradition.

If you look at the rebranded logo and packaging, it almost looks retro in a way true to the brand. We’re trying to look more like ourselves. The more we tried to do that, the more modern it became in its throwback way.

There has historically been a lot of orange in our brand, and we leaned into that with the rebranded design. We felt like we had equity in that color – the brand had been using that color for 50 years, if not more.

Looking through the brand’s archives reminded us that the brand was always doing ahead-of-its-time marketing.

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