Kraft MiO ads bring in Second City’s ‘Sassy Gay Friend’

By Zoe Galland
Posted March 21 at 3:43 p.m.

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.”

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  1. RegularGuy March 21 at 4:32 pm

    Just the article alone makes me want to smack my head and ask, “WHAT were they thinking?”

    First there were gay bars, then gay resorts, gay vacations, and now we have ‘gay flavored water.’

  2. no reality March 21 at 4:36 pm

    it’s not gay, it’s STUPID

  3. RJ March 21 at 4:39 pm

    As a gay man I can NOT begin to tell you how offended I am by this. KRAFT will never again get my business. If this were an African-American of Asian-American stereotype on a commercial, there would be great outrage. I plan on making sure that happens with this too.. what idiots!

  4. nowI'veSeenEverything! March 21 at 4:50 pm

    Kraft Foods, you should be ashamed! You make some food products that taste good, but this moronic, offensive commercial proves you have NO TASTE. Fie on you. Or as Shakespeare might have written about this commercial: “Out, out damned spot!”

  5. Alex March 21 at 4:51 pm

    As a straight 26 year old man, I actually find it pretty funny. There aren’t any gay cliches we haven’t seen before, so I don’t see any controversies…but as a business model, not sure this is going to get homemakers and working moms out in force to buy mac and cheese.

  6. katz March 21 at 5:14 pm

    I just have to ask, do any of you know what Second City is? Do the names James Belushi, Peter Boyle, Jane Lynch, Eugene Levy, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey ring a bell?
    RJ, did you boycott NBC and all the sponsors of “Will and Grace”?
    Get a grip people, laugh a bit. You’ll find it’s a great way to untwist knickers.

  7. nowI'veSeenEverything! March 21 at 5:16 pm

    This commercial seems like a sign of desperation from a company that is willing to do anything — even abandon its sense of taste and decency — to hawk its wares. Company founder James Lewis Kraft was a man of principle, taste, and business ethics. Hear that sound? Yep. He’s turning over in his grave.

  8. Dave March 21 at 5:17 pm

    Sassy Gay Friend existed well before he was shilling for Kraft. The actor/comedian who portrays him is gay. As a consumer who happens to be gay, I think he’s hilarious, not offensive.

    This is viral marketing, people. It’s designed to appeal to a specific segment of consumers without spending a ton of cash. And incidentally, just because some of those consumers are gay doesn’t make the water “gay” any more than advertising a car on BET makes the car “black.”

  9. katz March 21 at 5:18 pm

    Look at your life! Look at your choices!

  10. Claire Z. March 21 at 5:24 pm

    What Dave said.

  11. RJ March 21 at 5:34 pm

    I see Kraft is starting to send out its minions to cover up a screw up… And just to address this once….Second City is what it is, of course.. Does that mean one uses it for commercial purposes? You don’t believe their are consequences? Ask Gilbert Godfriend about his cancelled contract with AFLAC this past week over tasteless tweets….

    And dismissing it because it is ‘viral marketing’ means you truly do not understand what impact viral marketing has…anyway… I guess we will see if this becomes a big issue over the next few days..

  12. Claire Z. March 21 at 5:51 pm

    Actually, RJ, Second City gets used for commercial purposes constantly. They have touring companies specifically employed for commercial entertainment, for instance.

  13. J.A. March 21 at 6:08 pm

    Come on, how can you not love the line about praying to get rid of your feminity and “I tried that once at a Jesus Camp for gay teens, fyi, didn’t work.”

  14. MOE March 21 at 6:23 pm

    I thought the ads were very funny and creative. Which makes me assume the ad company used, is not based in Chicago. As a STRAIGHT Black male, I’m not offended by the race remarks at all. I think it’s time that people stop being “so offended” everytime someone says something that isn’t politically correct.

    How do you get through your day living such a coddled life?

  15. Cd March 21 at 6:36 pm

    I loved Brian gallivan at second city. I was sad when he left the main stage. He is proper hilarious.

  16. katz March 21 at 9:04 pm

    Gilbert Godfriend? ‘their are’? Oy!

  17. secondcitier March 22 at 12:11 a.m.

    Personally I love Brian Gallivan and Jean Villipique, and I am excited for them to get to do this and get paid for it. I love the Sassy Gay Friend episodes including this one. On the other hand I can’t see this commercial doing much for Kraft. The sketch is funny but as a legit selling method I think it sucks.

  18. joe m March 22 at 1:18 a.m.

    Thumbsup to Moe, I’m with ya on that one.

  19. Steph March 22 at 8:08 a.m.

    What what WHAT are you doing????? Look at your life, look at your choices!

  20. Zach D. March 31 at 1:05 pm

    What a criminal opportunity to put MDMA (ecstasy) into drinks of unsuspecting people or other illicit substances.

    Adulterating food and drink has never been easier once it’s socially acceptable and cool to carry around a small portable way of disguising poison and drugs.

    Would “sassy black woman” or “sassy asian man” be any less offensive? Kraft Foods has gone in the wrong direction.