Do you like your salad with a side of beefcake?
Kraft thinks you do. Its latest print ad campaign for Zesty Italian Dressing features a muscular man lying naked on a picnic cloth arranged strategically over his body. The tagline reads, “Silverware optional—Let’s get Zesty.” Since April, the brand has embraced a new approach to selling salad dressing, relying on the talents of bare-chested spokesperson with a knack for turning cooking demos into seductive innuendo.
A Kraft spokesperson told Yahoo! Shine, “We wanted to recognize our consumers as more than just moms, but also as women and give her a campaign that has her view Kraft salad dressings in a whole new way."
But not everyone's a fan of the extra zest. A nonprofit group, the faith-based organization One Million Moms (the same group behind a failed boycott of JCPenney and its openly gay spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres), doesn’t exactly approve. This week, the group launched an online tirade against Kraft's campaign, calling it “the most disgusting ad we have ever seen Kraft produce” and asking consumers to urge the company to discontinue their campaign.
That's not likely to happen. According to Kraft's rep, the response from consumers has been largely positive. There's evidence on Twitter to back up that claim. “I wouldn't mind getting zesty with that man in the Kraft Italian dressing commercial,” tweeted one fan. “Pretty sure I just fell in love with the man in the Kraft zesty Italian dressing commercial so ya there's that,” wrote another
Kraft has produced four different television spots that have run since April starring the same male model. In one ad, he stirs salad dressing against the backdrop of a rustic-looking countryside. The butter on the table sizzles and melts (a result of being in proximity to the guy?). “You know once you go Italian,” he says, while the camera zooms in on the sausages he’s grilling, “you’ll never go back.” The kitchen then fills with steam. Other ads feature him slapping pizza dough and spinning salad seductively. Kraft also launched the website Let's Get Zesty and “Zestygrams," personalized e-cards featuring the shirtless model that can be sent over social media. Messages include “Talk flirty to me,” "Thinking of you,” and “Just for zest.”
The model, dubbed “the Zesty Guy" even has his own Twitter account with almost 7,000 followers. He’s been tweeting messages to his followers such as, “Anything for you, babe. Happy Friday,” “Fingers are for licking. Cooks are for kissing,” and “Marinate…all…night…long.”