Everyone’s favorite blue box is under fire this week after social media users and mothers alike were less than amused by Kraft’s recent cheeky marketing campaign.
Earlier this month, Kraft launched a #SendNoods promotion in which fans could send a free box of the beloved mac and cheese (or a coupon for a free box) to a loved one.
“In these strange times, people are in need of extra comfort. That’s why it’s always a nice gesture to send noods so they know you’re thinking of them,” Saturday Night Live’s Vanessa Bayer said in the campaign’s promotional video. ”Noods, I mean. Not nudes.”
Lynne Galia, a spokesperson for Kraft Heinz, said in a statement that the social media campaign was inspired by National Noodle Day on Oct. 6, and “encouraged adults to send free noodles to loved ones to provide comfort and make them smile.”
However, as appealing as a free box of mac and cheese is, the risqué message behind the campaign drew a crowd of scrutiny from social media users who found it distasteful that the “family company” would “sexualize” the classic dish.
“This is not okay. Don’t you realize that a huge portion of the people who actually eat your mac n’ cheese are children?!” one user commented on a now-deleted Kraft Instagram post. “Please delete this!! Unacceptable! Switching over to Annie’s organics.”
One user, a mom of three young children, claimed Kraft is marketing “in a way that grooms children into believing it’s OK and even FUNNY to ‘send noods.'”
The distain for the cheeky campaign only continued to grow on Monday after Kraft—despite floods of backlash—shared another Instagram post about the “send noods” promotion over the weekend.
“Stop stop stop!!!!!!!” One commenter wrote. “Listen to all of these moms!! We are your customers!!!”
But not everyone was bothered by the campaign. After all, Kraft mac and cheese isn’t just for kids, and who could be upset about a free box of mac and cheese?
— Anna (@annacebradley) October 13, 2020
— Drama Spoiler (@DramaSpoiler) October 6, 2020
All promotional material for the campaign was removed from Kraft’s social pages once the deal ended. Despite the backlash, Kraft says it was a success.
“The social promotion resulted in over 20,000 consumers across the country receiving boxes of America’s favorite Kraft Mac and Cheese,” said Galia. “We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received.”