Northfield-based Kraft Foods is promoting its new product MiO, which it introduced in February, by running ad spots online featuring a character from The Second City called “Sassy Gay Friend.”
The “Sassy Gay Friend,” who has been featured in various viral videos produced by The Second City, first appeared online in 2010 when The Second City put up the scenes on YouTube. The joke in the viral videos involves famous scenes from various Shakespeare plays — such as Ophelia’s suicide in Hamlet, or the scene in Romeo and Juliet where Juliet is about to kill herself. The twist occurs when the “Sassy Gay Friend” unexpectedly enters the scenes and changes the outcome.
In the new videos for MiO, a Kraft product that lets consumers flavor their water, the “Sassy Gay Friend” appears in a scene from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
Brian Gallivan, the actor who plays the “Sassy Gay Friend,” has appeared in other MiO promotions. In a video posted on YouTube on March 3, Gallivan introduces MiO to Miss Havisham, the wealthy, jilted spinster in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations.”
Kraft has been focusing on advertising and innovation to help boost sales as it braces for higher food costs. The company is expecting a spike in commodity costs this year, with an estimated $700 million increase in North America alone.
Last month, Tony Vernon, president of Kraft Foods North America, spoke at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York’s annual conference, and presented a three-step plan to “bring consumers back” to Kraft’s categories by revitalizing the company’s brands.
During his presentation, Vernon emphasized the importance of Kraft’s advertising campaigns. “Great marketing is back at Kraft,” he said. “Our power brands are responding very well to these investments.”