Sell the Sizzle Not the Sodium Phosphate

HaveAHappySandwich.jpgDiagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Warren Zevon appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman” for a final interview.

When asked what he had learned about life, Zevon simply replied: “Just how much you’re supposed to enjoy every sandwich.”

Kraft is taking that message to heart. The company is about to launch a new campaign for Kraft Singles called “Have a Happy Sandwich,” according to a story this week in The New York Times.

On the surface, that sounds like an easy target for jokes. (Especially when the product itself suffers from shelf-esteem issues.)

But the strategy itself is brilliant. Rather than bombarding us with hard-to-swallow ads about the product’s wholesomeness—“every slice contains five ounces of milk”—Kraft is going to re-connect with an emotion that most people share from childhood: Grilled cheese sandwiches make you happy.

This isn’t roquette science: If people eat more grilled cheese sandwiches, then they’ll buy more Kraft Singles. It’s simple, believable, emotional and it will work. Even in a health-conscious world, people crave comfort food.

Perhaps the whole grilled-cheese thing has already entered the zeitgeist. Download Wes Anderson’s “Hotel Chevalier” for free on iTunes this week, and see what Jason Schwartzman orders from room service in Paris.