I suppose January is a good time for confessions, and today I confess to being a cheese-aholic, but it’s not my fault. One of the people I blame is the late Bruce Marsh.
Back in the 1960’s, Bruce supplied the soothing persuasive voice on the Kraft commercials during TV shows like Perry Como. Even in beautiful black and white, those little 60 second recipe demonstrations would send folks running to the grocery store to load up on cheddar and crackerbarrel, and especially Velveeta.
The man who named that product must be in a Madmen hall of fame somewhere. It was developed more than 50 years ago as a means of utilizing some of the leftovers at the Kraft plants, and it is still considered an ‘essential’ when you’re whipping up a mouth-watering dip for those Grey Cup or Superbowl parties.
But with that big American game just two weeks away, Kraft put out an alarm. It seems there’s a shortage of Velveeta! How can this be? They actually put the word out, with very little explanation, just after New Year’s. Can you say marketing opportunity?
Indeed, a recent check of the dairy case at a few stores on the prairies found that some were out of Velveeta. This hardly ranks as a consumer crisis, and hopefully we’re getting a little bit smarter as the years go by, but I wouldn’t count on it.
A few years ago Kraft bought Post cereals, one of the makers of Shreddies, another of the munchables I’m mildly addicted to. The Madmen turned the little shredded wheat square about 45 degrees, and bingo, we had diamond shreddies, a brand new fun breakfast treat.
It was a total scam and it worked. Sales went through the roof, until shoppers woke up and were embarrassed by their own stupidity. Enjoy the Superbowl, and pass the cheese dip please.
I’m Roger Currie