Kraft is celebrating the 75th anniversary of its Mac & Cheese brand with a marketing campaign that involves handing over the reins of its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts to a pair of octogenarians -- Frankie, 87, and Dottie, 86.
The shtick is that the "old birds" have "been eating Mac & Cheese for 75 years," according to a release by the Miami-based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which created the campaign. So, naturally, they're totally qualified to run the social media accounts of one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, right?
While the goal appears to be to generate smiles and warm-hearted interest in a time-honored, day-glow orange American side dish, the driving principle behind its comedy seems to be the well-worn stereotype that the elderly -- and older women in particular -- are befuddled, out-of-touch and cute in a frumpy sort of way. When the elderly touch technology, the campaign seems to suggest, only hilarity can ensue.
The first couple of videos released by the campaign are quick to jump on that vibe.
"I don't have one of those things here that you have to connect to make a computer work. What is it you need? A Wi-Fi?" Frankie asks.
"They're all ready for us, Frankie, but we're not ready for them," replies Dottie.
Across Kraft's social media platforms today, Frankie and Dottie responded mildly to people tweeting at them, and posted video in which they learned about planking. Frankie was quick to recall another fad when "college kids" would stuff themselves into phone booths.
The pair also tweeted at 90-year-old actress Betty White, who joined Twitter on April 10. At time of writing, White had not responded.
White is a stranger neither to commercials nor social media, having been the star of an off-kilter Super Bowl ad and the subject of a viral Facebook campaign in 2010 that culminated in her hosting the highest-rated episode of Saturday Night Live in two years. It's clear that White has charisma, and it would follow that Kraft is trying to see if their pair of elderly everyladies can drum up some of their own.
But they might be drumming for deaf ears. Although Frankie and Dottie are getting a little kind attention from the Twittersphere -- and deflecting some crude disruptions -- the campaign, for now, is benign. It might take more than ping-pong call outs and advice for kids to make Mac & Cheese interesting.
Check out some of the pair's tweets and responses from followers in the slideshow below: