- Kraft Heinz beverage brand Kool-Aid is running a campaign in which mascot Kool-Aid Man has gone missing while on the hunt for a new flavor, and fans are called on to help find him, according to a press release shared with Marketing Dive.
- Consumers are encouraged to visit the site koolaidmystery.com to scan a pack of the product and guess the mascot's location. Fans can check back on the site daily to win instant prizes and see updates on where the mascot might be. The brand's social media channels will also offer updates.
- By scanning a pack of the product by April 3, consumers are automatically entered for a chance to win a grand prize vacation. The new flavor will be revealed on April 6.
Kool-Aid, wanting to build mystery into a campaign around the reveal of a new flavor, has lost its mascot, making it the second Kraft Heinz effort this year that puts one of its iconic brand mascots on the line. For the Super Bowl, the company ran a campaign which showed mascot Mr. Peanut's tragic death, sacrificing himself so that his friends, actor Wesley Snipes and comedian Matt Walsh, could survive after the peanut mobile crashes.
The Kool-Aid campaign has several layers built in to help the brand drive engagement with consumers. The effort encourages regular contact with the brand through at-home product scanning and following the brand on social media. Additionally, to enter fans must share their name, email, birthday and mailing address, data points which Kool-Aid can use for further direct marketing campaigns down the road.
Kraft Heinz is leaning heavily on the awareness of mascots that have been featured in its marketing for decades, banking on nostalgia to win over consumers as the company looks to drive sales following a 5.1% sales drop for 2019.
However, inserting brand mascots into ongoing narrative that involve some peril can come with potential pitfalls, as Kraft Heinz found out with its recent Planters campaign. Planters used social media to build interest in its Super Bowl pre-game ad and the #RIPeanut hashtag took off on Twitter as people mourned the loss of their favorite character. The effort was suspended after basketball legend Kobe Bryant and eight others were tragically killed in a helicopter accident.
The Super Bowl ad showed the funeral, with Kool-Aid Man in attendance. The spot ended with a happy ending when Mr. Peanut was reborn as a baby version of himself.
Previous efforts to keep Kool-Aid Man fresh and relevant include a partnership with rapper Lil Jon for a holiday song and the brand's first branded hashtag challenge on popular video app TikTok.