Contrast; or How to be a cheese-gurgling son of a macaroni mother

Besides being hilarious, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese’s new “Swear Like a Mother” commercial is a great example of an under-utilized marketing strategy called contrast. This strategy can really make your business stand out from the competition. However, a lot of businesses aren’t using this powerful technique.

Let’s take a look at what contrast is and why you should use it.

What is contrast?

Contrast in marketing means doing something different. That could mean different from everyone else or different from what’s expected of you. Kraft’s commercial uses contrast in both those ways. No other food company has a commercial with questionable language, and most people expect a company like Kraft to provide a family-friendly, wholesome message.

Most businesses firmly believe that their message needs to be “professional” and “business-like” at all times. So, the text on their website, brochures, and advertisements ends up sounding robotic and stiff.

Actual people don’t talk like robots (but they can dance like them). Always remember that your customer is a human, and talk to them in a way they can connect with—preferably using words they would actually use.

Dancing robot with contrast


Using contrast in your messaging might be as simple as not sounding too professional and uptight. Let your personality or the personality of your business show through. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to connecting more deeply with your audience.

Why should you use contrast?

In addition to helping you build a more personal relationship with your customers, contrast makes you stand out. Every other business might do things one way, but you do things differently. If your different approach is also a positive one, you’ll stand out and earn more customers.

Contrast works because it fights the “I already know this” reaction. When people see something we’ve seen before, our immediate response is to ignore it because we think we already know what it’s about. But if your marketing is unexpected and different, you’re going to get peoples’ attention.

In Kraft’s case, everyone already knows about their product. There’s nothing new or exciting about pasta covered in cheese, so our brains tune out and move on. A commercial with moms swearing at their kids, on the other hand—now that’s something you’ve probably never seen before. It bypasses your “been there, done that” response.

This is not a conclusion

In conclusion, contrast is an effective way to make your business stand out. Just be careful to use it wisely, or you’ll stand out in the wrong way.

When planning what kind of contrast you’ll use, keep in mind your target audience. You need to make sure you’re connecting with your customers. Kraft understood moms sometimes swear, and presenting evidence tells moms they’re not alone if they’ve sworn around their kids.

If you need some help using contrast to make your business stand out, send us a $*!&^ macaroni-loving email already (that was an example of contrast).

Leave a Reply