Saturday, March 12, 2011

Approved by YiaYia

The new ad campaign run by Kraft Foods for Athenos hummus and yogurt products, has sparked interest as well as controversy. The ads feature a Greek grandmother figure named "YiaYia" and her traditional views on life. Three different spots incoporate YiaYias views on parenting, relationships and fashion. The theme for the commercials is that YiaYia is a fan of "simple, respectful food made the Greek way." She doesn't approve of anything her family is doing. She criticizes their lifestyle choices including, style of dress, living together before marriage, and being a stay-at-home dad. The only thing she approves of is Athenos.

In this first spot YiaYia tells her granddaughter how she feels about the way she dresses. YiaYia criticizes her granddaughter saying she, "dresses like a prostitute."

In this second spot YiaYia tells her son how she feels about his job. YiaYia insults her son, saying he is like a woman because he doesn't work outside the home.

These advertisements have sparked controversy in the Greek community. Some feel these ads are stereotyping Greek language and culture. According to Maria Anagnostopoulos a program director at the Greek Institute, "These commercials are not appropriate from a Greek perspective." Others feel that this advertisement is creative and lighthearted. Kraft Foods felt that this would be a viral campaign and strike interest among their target market of 20 year olds. Kraft wants people to see the commercial as fun and said the Greek-Americans they tested the commercial on thought it was humorous.

What target demographic would Kraft be trying to attract with these ads?
Do you think these Athenos ads are.. Creative? Funny? Controversial? Something else? Why?


  1. Kraft is definitely trying to get attention with these commercials. It is funny but the stereotype is extreme and I can see that it could be offensive to some people. The use of the word "prostitute" and the other commercial not shown above that said the young couple was " going to hell" because they lived together was not neccessary to prove the point that the yia yia only approved of the hummus they were eating. Not sure if the commercial will sell more hummus, it may cause controversy which is obviously what they hope to do.

  2. I agree with Lori in the fact that this commercial is Very Funny. I understand people may take offense to this type of "bashing" but in the end I believe the majority of it's viewers will remember the Atheno's brand. Looking at the YouTube comments I believe the overall reaction is more positive than negative and is also getting people to talk about it. As controversial as this commercial may be, with the rapid increase in "provocative" if not "risky" television shows I believe we as consumers and viewers are becoming more comfortable and used to seeing commercials as these.

  3. I agree with you Barrett, I think with so much advertising clutter out there now, viewers need something to do something really different to stand out from the crowd and gain any attention whatsoever. Obviously, one of the best ways of doing this is to create controversy which Kraft has obviously done. Anyone who reacts negatively is effectively playing into the hands of Kraft, by giving the brand even more publicity than it would if they simply didn't react at all. As Lori said, perhaps the use of 'prostitute' and 'going to hell' were unnecessary when it comes to proving their point about having quality hummus, but I actually think these commercials are less about proving their hummus and more about simply gaining awareness and attention and by going 'too far' (as some might feel) it does exactly what it's set out to do.

  4. Thank you all for your responses! I definitely agree that they were striving for creativity and humor with this ad. I think it can be remembered for these things. However, I can see why some demographics may find it offensive. Although a product or business may have best interests in mind when creating a commercial they need to be sure it won't offend the audience. There are countless ads that have used gender, age or racial stereotypes and it could really offend people even though the creators were doing it in humor.

  5. I agree also with the above comments. I think those were funny ads but I can see that it has raised controversy. In addition to the previous comments I like to add that those ads were shown in a different country. We need to consider that humor can't always be adopted in other cultural settings. Greece may be also a bit unique. For example, Coca Cola used the Pantheon at the Acropolis (considered to be holy ground by the Greek) for ads which totally resulted in anger by the Greek population. As you can see, international marketing bears some risks.