It may not be quite as fun as a food fight, but Jell-O says it has come up with an appropriate way to play with your food in the digital age. The company recently launched a campaign that lets people write and share secret messages to each other online that can only be decoded by viewing them through - what else? - red gelatin Jell-0.
At www.jellojigglevision.com or on the Jell-O Facebook page, Jell-O eaters can craft messages up to 130 characters long and disguise them with one of three different patterns, which they can then share on Facebook or Twitter. Revealing the message requires the viewer to peel the lid off a refrigerated red gelatin Jell-O snack, looking at the pattern through the top of the cup. When asked why only red gelatin unlocks the secret messages, Kelly Condon, senior associate brand manager for Jell-O at Kraft Foods Group, responds: "We sell the most strawberry." The campaign was created by Jell-O ad agency CP+B.
The idea of a secret decoder, like Jell-O itself, is a bit of a nostalgia play from the '50s and '60s. "Our loyal consumers remember Jell-O from a different era. This is a way that's authentic and fun to introduce a new generation to the idea," says Condon. Kraft is also sending out secret joke messages of its own to readers of print publications including Redbook and the Food Network Magazine.
Since its launch last week, the dedicated Facebook page has seen 2,000 visits and 400 messages created, with the mobile site clocking an additional 500 visits and 200 messages, according to Condon.
The brand has been on a mission to use interactive media campaigns to "look for opportunities to inspire fun and offer a surprise in everyday life," tying in TV spots, social media efforts, and real-time events. For example, in February, as part of its Fun Things Up campaign - which originally sought to save the world from the Mayan apocalypse - Jell-O consoled the losing Super Bowl team and its fans with pudding, distributed by former 49er Ronnie Lott. Fans could also download a browser plug-in that let them block gloating from the opposing team.
"We want to bring some simple snacking moments into life," says Condon about the campaigns.
Just when it's all seeming a bit too saccharine, don't forget that Jell-O's last social media campaign raised some eyebrows. Entitled #FML - er, that's fun my life - it responded to #FML tweets from distraught users and rewarded them with selected products to make their day a little sweeter.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014