Kraft ‘Real Women of Philadelphia’ Video Contest a Hit With Home Chefs

Kraft’s Philadelphia Cream Cheese racked up some impressive user engagement numbers for “Real Women of Philadelphia,” an eight-week Web contest that made heavy use of online video. Since the initiative began in late March, users have viewed more than two million videos on and a network of partner sites, including launched March 22 with a video announcement from celebrity chef Paula Deen. Deen told visitors to send in their own cooking videos in response to a series of challenges, and over the next eight weeks they did so to the tune of 5,125 clips.

Two winners chosen from each week’s challenge will be flown to Ms. Deen’s hometown, Savannah, GA to compete in a cooking competition on June 30. In July, four contest winners will become the new hosts of the site, and will call for additional recipes to be included in a cookbook – the final element of the Kraft project.

There is an important social media element as well. Videos are hosted at YouTube, and community members are encouraged to share their recipes on social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.

EQAL, the social media company that set up the site, produced 15 videos starring Ms. Dean, some showing her cooking with cream cheese and others showing her providing tips about how to create videos and participate in the program.

John McCarus, VP group director at Third Act/Digitas, the agency behind the program, said it combines content creation with social distribution to generate “real conversation with home cooks around cooking for their families. The goal is to develop a community for regular cooks to share ideas and build a relationship with each other. It’s created a deep sisterhood that is bigger than cooking.”

In data provided by Digitas, the site has drawn 691,241 visitors who spend an average of 4:28 on the site. There are 4,373 registrants on the site.

McCarus said TV, print and banner ads are being used to promote the site.

Melissa Parrish, a Forrester analyst, said the program is a winner because it offers a great prize and incentivizes the community. But she criticized it for not allowing visitors to vote on their favorite videos to pick the winners, “which would have created an opportunity to increase the viral spread and get more people involved.”

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