Kraft Peanut Butter spreads bear hugs to feed the hungry

Kraft's campaign saw over 50,000 jars of PB donated to local food banks.

An iconic brand, Kraft Peanut Butter has been part of Canadians’ lives for 50 years. When you spread Kraft Peanut Butter you spread the feeling of positive emotions – a positivity that emanates to those around you. Similarly, hugs give people an emotional boost, and it is with these insights that Kraft built the “Spread the Feeling Hug Day” campaign.  
Kraft wanted to help spread some good feelings to those in need, and decided to tie the hugs to food bank donations. Peanut butter is an especially important item for food banks as it is a source of valuable nutrients. During the summer months, donations to food banks across Canada significantly decline, drastically limiting supplies.

In 2008, Kraft VP marketing, grocery and beverages Domenic Borrelli and his team kicked-off a mass advertising campaign by Draftfcb and media agency MediaVest that included OOH, TV, cinema ads, print and digital billboards. Developed by MacLaren Momentum and Edelman Canada, a Toronto street event leveraged the brand’s iconic Kraft Peanut Butter Bear mascots, Smoothie and Crunchy, and gave consumers the chance to receive a free bear hug. With every hug, Kraft donated one 500-gram jar of PB to the Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto.
The 2008 event was so successful that Kraft took it national. The 2009 “Spread the Feeling Hug Day” tour launched May 16, and invited consumers to join the Kraft Peanut Butter Bears in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver to get a free bear hug and help hungry Canadians. Kraft partnered with local food banks in each city, and for every bear hug received, once again a jar of peanut butter was given to the food bank.
Kraft set a national goal of 50,000 hugs and jars donated. Online, PR, social media, print, and events were used to hit specific goals in each city.

The larger-than-life bear mascots gave hugs to both kids and adults alike. In Montreal, Smoothie and Crunchy were hugging at Atwater Market at the Lachine Canal. In Ottawa, they hugged at the ByWard Market and in Toronto at Ontario Place.  And finally, they hugged at West Edmonton Mall and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Event staff, dressed in vibrant “Spread the Feeling” t-shirts and outfitted with bear ears and a tail, snapped Polaroid pictures of families with the bears and handed out branded picture frame magnets. 
Those who couldn’t make it to the events sent virtual bear hugs to their friends and family at and The microsite featured a map of Canada showing where the bears were headed next and a virtual hug counter tallying the total hugs given.

The campaign was a tremendous success for both Kraft and local food banks. Kraft met the national goal with 50,193 hugs/jars donated and achieved 99% branded media coverage with tier-one outlets such as Breakfast Television, Global and CityNews. Overall, the program realized over 15 million impressions and 116 stories by means of PR, web, TV, radio and print.
The success didn’t end there: Kraft Peanut Butter’s share was up three points consistently in the months they were on tour, and consumers spread the word through Twitter and Facebook.
Kraft dimensionalized the campaign promise and made a big impact on those in need. “Spread the Feeling” has come to mean more than just peanut butter on toast.

Judges’ comments
“Kraft’s ‘Spread the Feeling’ personified the very essence of the brand. The cause they support is core to their competencies and has legs. This was such a unique and heartwarming initiative. They brilliantly executed this campaign by including all the elements of their brand from their messaging to their mascot all while addressing a very serious issue. Dividends were achieved both from a cause perspective and sales – a win-win.”
– Andrea Dil, brand manager, Cisco Canada

“A fabulous theme for 2009. It was such a difficult year; hugging a bear is so comforting, while at the same time allowing someone [in need] to get peanut butter. What more can you ask?”
 – Natasha Renaud, director, communications and social responsibility, Grand & Toy

“This builds on and strengthens what the brand means in the hearts and minds of its users. The cause is fundamentally linked to the product as well.”
– Margaret McKellar

“The hug strategy goes very well with the image of the brand. It’s creating a very positive atmosphere, a positive mindset and a fun way of fundraising.”
– Claude Bernier


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