Philly celebrates the work of local ‘angels’

The Kraft Heinz brand builds on imagery it had brought back for a contest to provide extra recognition for community heroes.


With the pandemic bedeviling marketing plans for the last two months, Philly is another brand that has had to change its messaging, adapting a campaign to find a new spokeperson to one that recognizes “angels” in communities across Canada.

Kraft Heinz’s cheese spread brand was in-market late February with its “#PhillyCastingCall,” inviting fans to submit video auditions to become a modern-day successor to the brand’s angelic spokesperson from the 90s. Now, however, Canadians are being encouraged to thank and support “angels among us” by sharing stories about those doing their job to help stop the spread of COVID-19, ranging from frontline healthcare workers to people volunteering to do grocery shopping for the elderly.

The brand is asking for stories to be shared on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag “#AngelsAtWork,” and the brand will be donating one meal to Food Banks Canada every time the hashtag is shared across social. A social push behind the campaign last, which included a paid buy, showed photos of some of these “angels” with white wings drawn onto them.

Heena Verma, senior marketing manager of brand build and innovation for cheese and beverages at Kraft Heinz Canada, says the casting call campaign was “very successful,” and says a TV ad later this year that formally reveals the winner to Canadians is still slated to run as planned.

However, having revived the “angel” imagery in its marketing recently also gave the brand an easy, visually recognizable platform to amplify what Verma describes as the inspirational ways Canadians are spreading goodness, positivity and hope within their communities, despite these difficult times.

Verma says this campaign effort is aimed at “all Canadians,” but the brand has conceded that even as it’s a market share leader at 80%, competitors within private label are starting to close the “functional product gap” on factors like price and quality. Kraft Heinz has previously attempted to grow the category further with product adaptations like a drinkable Philly format, though it is currently moving away from product innovation in favour of putting more investment behind developing iconic brands and core SKUs, plans that are continuing despite the disruption of the pandemic.

The #AngelsAtWork campaign was launched within two weeks of inception. Toronto-based marketing agency Salt XC and Colony Project worked on the campaign.