Blogs & Comment

Winners & Losers: Kraft goes au naturel, a Spectre haunts Sony

Daniel Craig actually does have a license to kill (endorsement deals, that is)

▲ Kraft

Colouring inside the lines

Kraft Dinner

The unnatural orange glow of Kraft mac and cheese is an integral part of the dining experience, but it will soon be a thing of the past. Kraft Foods Group said this week it will remove synthetic colours and preservatives from its popular mac and cheese line in both Canada and the U.S. by the end of 2016. The company is making the move in response to consumer pressure and demand for more natural and healthier packaged food products. Instead of using two types of food dyes—yellow number five and yellow number six, or Tartrazine as they’re known elsewhere in the world—Kraft will use colours derived from paprika and tumeric. (Although if people desire “natural” mac and cheese so much, why they don’t just buy elbow macaroni and real cheese? Maybe we just don’t understand cuisine. We’re no Guy Fieri.) The reason for the shift stems in part from a campaign by controversial food blogger and non-scientist Vani Hari, also known as the “Food Babe,” who frequently peddles misinformation and sundry nonsense on her blog. Some Tartrazine fans are venting on Kraft’s Facebook page for caving to Hari. “I’m very disappointed with you Kraft,” wrote one user. “I think you should grow a back bone, you’re the mighty Kraft.” Another predicted, “you will loos a fortune.” [sic] But beyond the angry rantings of Kraft Dinner Facebook fans, there are real market forces behind the company’s decision. Although Kraft dominates the mac and cheese market, it has been feeling pressure from smaller companies offering “natural” and “organic” alternatives. Making this change is simply good business sense.

▼ Sony

This Bond can’t be bought

Sony Xperia L

The beleaguered electronics company wants to get its smartphones into the hands of consumers. The problem is, people don’t want to pay money for a Sony smartphone. So the electronics maker is trying an innovative new business model: paying people to use its products. Except that’s not working either—newly discovered emails that were leaked as part of a hacking job on Sony last year show the company offered to pay $5 million for actor Daniel Craig to use a Sony Xperia as part of the upcoming James Bond film, Spectre. Craig and director Sam Mendes weren’t interested. “BEYOND the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a CREATIVE factor,” wrote Columbia Pictures’ worldwide president of business affairs Andrew Gumpert. “[T]he thinking, subjectively/objectively, is that James Bond only uses the ‘best,’ and in their minds, the Sony phone is not the ‘best.'” Indeed, Daniel Craig has standards. He’s not a corporate shill who can be bought. Unless your product is really good and you’re offering him a lot of money. That’s what Samsung was reportedly doing, too. Previous emails showed that while Sony had budgeted an $18 million advertising commitment for Spectre, Samsung was prepared to commit $50 million. Samsung is the clear leader when it comes to smartphone use, accounting for 24.4% of the worldwide market, according to research firm Gartner. Sony doesn’t even rank. The leaked emails don’t indicate which phone James Bond will end up using when the film premieres later this year. Our money is on the BlackBerry Passport.