Pumpkin spice… mac ‘n cheese?
Kraft Heinz is taking a page from Starbucks with the debut of Pumpkin Spice Macaroni & Cheese, putting its own stamp on the ubiquitous fall flavor.
The limited-edition product will be available exclusively through a Twitter campaign that starts Friday and runs through Tuesday. Kraft will select 1,000 people in the U.S. who tag the brand with #PumpkinSpiceKMC and #Sweepstakes to receive a box of the new product.
The U.S promotion follows a similar campaign launched in Canada earlier this week, which drew in 30,000 sign-ups to an online waitlist for the product within 48 hours. Rethink worked on the Canadian and U.S. promotions, with stateside adaptation by VaynerMedia.
This time of year, pumpkin spice is a punchline ingredient. Pumpkin spice cookie mixes and coffee creamers are ubiquitous, and even deodorant brands, such as Native, are jumping on the trend. While the flavoring might not be totally intuitive for mac ‘n cheese, Kraft an opportunity to lean into pumpkin spice to stay relevant to consumers.
“We are always looking at ways to keep our iconic brand relevant in culture and communicate with our fans in ways and in channels where they are spending their time,” said Martina Davis, brand manager at Kraft Mac & Cheese.
But the pumpkin spice mac ‘n cheese launch isn’t just about latching onto seasonal trends.
The company is also navigating how to run effective promotions during lockdown. This summer, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ran a similar online promotion that offered recipe suggestions to spice up the product, such as adding bacon and sausage.
“Our recent activations around Kraft Mac & Cheese for Breakfast and now offering Pumpkin Spice Mac & Cheese are just two examples of how we bring these cultural moments to life,” Davis said.
Pumpkin spice season seems to arrive earlier every year. Starbucks, king of the pumpkin spice craze, launched its iconic pumpkin spice latte on August 25 this year, ahead of its traditional early September launch.
Reactions to Kraft’s take on pumpkin spice -- mac n cheese seasoned with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger -- are mixed. On Twitter, comments ranged from “There are some things that just shouldn’t be pumpkin spiced,” to “Oh lordy, I would do anything for this.”