As we near any holiday—July 4 is coming up!—we watch brands try to capitalize on it by using social media to link themselves to the milestone. The West Coast dairy brand Tillamook is amusingly taking its turn with an effort to change Independence Day into revolutionary moment for 100 percent natural cheese products.
As you most likely already know, American cheese isn't, strictly speaking, cheese; it's a type of processed cheese. The FDA, in fact, has pretty strict regulations about how cheese brands label it. Tillamook's currently campaign, launched earlier this year by 72andSunny, is "Dairy Done Right," and the brand thought this July 4 would be an apt time to take a stance on American cheese. The funny, overwrought ads feature an animated Abraham Lincoln campaign against (and at one point stabbing with a sword) artificial American cheese.
"We wanted to start educating people that there's a right way to make dairy products and a not-so-right way," said John Russell, chief marketing officer at Tillamook. "We realized we had an opportunity to make our message that much more culturally relevant [during certain times of the year]."
In the new spots, which launched Wednesday, the brand says it hacked its own media buy: instead of airing its previous "Dairy Done Right" ads, the brand has been and will continue to air its "Un-American Cheese" spots through the Fourth.
"Everyone knows what processed, or American cheese, is but they don't know exactly what it is and how it is different from 100 percent natural cheese," said Russell. "Everyone is going to be going out buying a bunch of cheese slices for their Fourth of July barbecues, so this is a great time to point out, in a fun way, that American cheese is not so good."
The brand has also launched a White House petition to get "American" removed from the processed cheese's name. They hope to garner 100,000 signatures for said petition, which they hope will make the White House respond.
"People eat a lot of American cheese over the Fourth of July," said Kelly Schoeffel, co-head of strategy for 72andSunny. "This was a great way to call out American cheese without calling out an existing brand. It's a moment where you can call out just the existence of American cheese."
Schoeffel said that the agency chose Lincoln as its activist for "a very specific reason—he's honest Abe! He cannot tell a lie. And American cheese posing as cheese is just that. Or as Seb, our writer, put it in the petition: 'processed, plastic-wrapped slices of deception.'"
Project: Un-American Cheese Campaign
Client: Tillamook County Creamery Association
President & CEO: Patrick Criteser
Senior Director of Marketing: John Russell
Integrated Marketing Manager: Gillian Kennedy
Corporate Communications Manager: Tori Harms
Paid Media and Research Coordinator: Ashley Riggs
Digital Marketing Coordinator: Laura Schatz
Social Media Strategist: Amalya Haver
Events and Retail Marketing Supervisor: Katie Moreland
PR and Packaging Coordinator: Katie Weltner
Consumer Relations Coordinator: Callie O'Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer: John Boiler
Chief Creative Officer: Glenn Cole
Group Creative Director: Grant Holland
Creative Director/Designer: Jason Ambrose
Designer: Jessica Lasher
Writer: Sebastian Lyman
Jr. Social Writers: Hilary Smith, Emily Frederick
Jr. Social Designer: Fabienne Wente
Group Strategy Director: Kelly Schoeffel
Strategist: Anneliese Rapp
Group Brand Director: Josh Jefferis
Brand Manager: Laura Hoffman
Brand Coordinator: Lauren DesRosiers
User Experience Design Director: Melissa Bell
Director of Film Production: Sam Baerwald
Sr. Film Producer: Ann Parker
Art Production Coordinator: Nicole Rejwan
Business Affairs Director: Christina Rust
Business Affairs Manager: Maggie Pijanowski
Business Affairs Jr Manager: Jesse Sinkiewicz
Editorial: 72andSunny Studio
Editor: Thomas MacVicar
Creative Director: Ryan Zunkley
Designer / Animator: Jae Yoo
Executive Producer: Jenn Locke
Editorial Producer: Becca Purice
VFX Producer:Tom Slovick
Audio / Sound Design: Matt Kravitz