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Kraft Wants to Pump You Up

dfarsettas Icon Posted by Diane Farsetta

March 25th, 2008

This story has been sitting on my desk for a while. Although I immediately thought of posting about it on WIMN’s Voices, it almost seemed almost too easy and too repetitive.

Wow, another intrusion of marketing forces into our lives? One that relies on negative (you’re not good enough) and positive (you like to encourage other women) female stereotypes? You don’t say.

Ah, but I do… or, rather, Kraft does. Their new website, “uPumpItUp,” is a “cause initiative for the Crystal Light brand,” according to PR Week. “The goal is to become the definitive social networking site geared to women.” The twist is that the site “will focus on women’s pursuit of balance” and “challenge them to pursue personal goals on their own terms.”

“Nothing is for sale here,” a Crystal Light marketer told PR Week. Really? Then why is it based on Kraft’s market research?

As one of the people who created the site explained to DMNews, “The brand went out and did a lot of research with women to understand their values and what was driving their attitudes about life.” The answer: physical and emotional well-being.

Enter the website’s “lifestyle experts“: Mandy Moore and four other women who offer help on “all things social,” “stylish ways to express your creative side,” how to “tune out distractions and tune into yourself,” and how “to explore the amazing world around you.”

In addition to their chirpy videos, Mandy and her “friends” suggest challenges for site users to adopt. Users can also create their own challenges. The challenges seem harmless, if frequently trite. Among the most popular challenges currently are sending three handwritten letters to friends, starting an “idea book,” getting rid of clutter around the house, and exercising more.

Each multi-step “challenge” helps Kraft keep site visitors coming back and maybe even encouraging their friends to join. But the marketing angle extends beyond the Crystal Light logo (at the bottom) and name (”Powered by Crystal Light” in the browser window) on each and every page. From the site’s privacy policy:

We may use the information you provide to contact you from time to time. For example, we may (i) send you promotional materials and other communications you request, (ii) respond to your comments or questions, or (iii) contact you if needed while processing a product or service you requested through our website. We also may use the information you provide to contact you for your opinions on Kraft products or the website. …

In addition, we use personally-identifiable information for market research purposes. …

On our website, we may conduct joint promotions with other companies. We may share with our promotional partners (and their service providers) certain personally-identifiable information as necessary to conduct the promotion.

Not surprising, but still, pretty gross. Excuse me while I drink some water to get the bad taste out of my mouth.

One Response to “Kraft Wants to Pump You Up”

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