Cracker Barrel brings the swagger back to cheese

Building on the popularity of a previous campaign, the company leans into an over-the-top love for its hero product.

CB_1x1-Office_ENGInformed by the popularity of its “mic drop” campaign, Cracker Barrel is once again leaning into a bravado approach.

Back in 2017, Cracker Barrel launched a “Kitchen Swagger” campaign created by Leo Burnett, showing home cooks primarily using the brand’s pre-shredded cheese to add an extra kick to what they are cooking, creating a “mic drop” moment in the kitchen.

The new campaign, created by Dentsu One, takes that same approach to the rest of the brand’s cheese, once again featuring a slow-motion shot, but this time, shows a woman brazenly gnawing on a large brick of cheese in front of her coworkers.

“[The previous campaign] worked so well and it resonated really well with our consumers,” says Sabrina Zollo, VP marketing of the cheese and tablespreads division at Lactalis Canada, which acquired the Cracker Barrel brand from Kraft Heinz last year. She tells strategy that since it’s still relatively new, the concept still has legs.

“It’s about how to continue that momentum and elevate it,” Zollo adds, which means in addition to flaunting brand pride, the spot now is also about showing more obvious love for the product.

Awareness and reach is Lactalis’ top objective for Cracker Barrel, Zollo says, as this time of year leads into entertaining season, the biggest peak for cheese.


Snacking had been increasing pre-COVID, Zollo says, and is being amplified by protracted lockdowns. In response, Lactalis has launched “bites,” regular cheese cut into bite-sized cheese like potato chips, for snacking. Block, however, constitutes the bulk of its business, and Zollo says Cracker Barrel is seeing more cooking occasions for the hero format, and it’s trying to play into that while also promoting value-add offerings, such as easier-to-cook shredded varieties.

The release also takes advantage of fall premiere TV viewership, with the ad running in English and French nationally during prime time. There is also creative running across platforms like Facebook and Instagram that feature different product formats, like shredded cheese, which are more geared to recipes, the kind of content that is more popular on social.

That’s also why the brand is also opting to activate on Pinterest, and will continue to do so thanks to the trend of at-home cookery and recipe-seeking on the platform. Lactalis is also unveiling an in-store component across major grocery banners featuring shelf-blade adaptations of the creative, part of completing the whole consumer purchase journey, Zollo says. Starcom handled media buying for the campaign.

Ad spend for the latest campaign is comparable to past efforts, and Zollo says it’s important for the brand to maintain its level of awareness.

“What we’ve seen in our brand health tracker studies, is that if you pull back on media spend, you tend to see a dip in awareness levels, which also impacts brand equity,” she says.