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Grey Poupon Rejects Uncouth Facebook Users

  |  September 12, 2012   |  Comments

Digital-only effort by Crispin, Porter + Bogusky also includes a Pinterest-centric website with boards that range from food and cocktail recipes to upscale lifestyle tips.

Kraft's Grey Poupon mustard is embracing its snobbish reputation in a new Facebook-centered all-digital campaign that rejects customers who don't measure up.

Clearly designed to be provocative, the "Spread Good Taste" initiative is the work of ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and is the brand's first mass marketing effort in 15 years. The Facebook campaign page, which launched Sept. 12, almost immediately prompted one Facebook fan in Boston to protest, "Screw Grey Poupon. They won't let me into their society. I'm joining the Colman's Coalition for Spicier Specimens."  (Colman's is a rival mustard brand.)


Grey Poupon, which has more than 21,000 Facebook fans, is inviting people to apply to join its new branded "Society of Good Taste" Facebook page. When someone clicks on the application, an algorithm searches and judges your profile based on your proper use of grammar, your taste in art, your restaurant-check ins, the books you read and your movie selections. 

If the algorithm detects poor taste in music or TXT speak, for example, you could be rejected for membership, according to Kraft. If you don't qualify, you have your "like" deleted and are given suggestions on how to improve your profile before reapplying. Assuming you want to reapply. For instance, you are advised to buy a novel by Charles Dickens online, visit the Masterpiece Theater website to view TV shows and previews, or click on a Poupon-and-filet mignon recipe.

The 18th century brand's goal is to attract new, younger customers. "A new generation may be unaware of our premium ingredients," said Sara Braun, Kraft Foods marketing director. "We plan to re-establish our place in culture, starting by finding the most tasteful individuals online," she said.

Buzz, naturally, is a key component to reaching that target. On Twitter, for instance, the reception so far is generally positive, with several people tweeting that they made the cut to join the society, and sharing tips on how to raise scores. (Apply more than once.) One young Chicago digital consultant tweeted on Sept. 12, "Phew I passed with an 83! Clever #Marketing."

Once they are accepted into the Society, people get a badge they can post to their profile and share, and they can enter to win prizes. "We are turning the mass platform of Facebook on its head with an element of exclusivity," said Tom Markham, executive creative director at CP+B. "It's a way to find new consumers who exhibit values similar to the brand and who would appreciate its quality. We also help spread good taste to those that aren't quite there yet."

As part of the campaign, Grey Poupon is also building its website entirely on Pinterest, with boards that range from food and cocktail recipes to upscale lifestyle tips.

By the way, that Facebook fan who was rejected by the Society and posted his blunt rejoinder? That would be Bob Shiffrar, a veteran associate creative director for a medical communications company.


Joan Voight is a Contributing Editor to ClickZ. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, she has covered online and offline media, marketing and advertising since the mid-1990s for several business publications. She spent nine years at Adweek magazine, where she was San Francisco bureau chief, national senior writer and contributing reporter.

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