It All Started With A Simple Facebook Post By Kraft Natural Cheese.
It all started with a simple Facebook post by Kraft Natural Cheese: "Attention all you cheese-lovers out there: what’s the most recent challenge you’ve faced in the kitchen at breakfast, lunch, or dinner? Unexpected guests? Boring routine? A Kraft Cheesemaker might take on your challenges. Reply with #ChallengeACheesemaker"
It Sounded Like A Good Idea
I immediately thought about how much we love Kraft cheese! In my mind, it sounded like a good idea to answer the question. Maybe we’d win some free cheese. So I typed my challenge. “With four-year-old twins, we make a lot of grilled cheese! How do you jazz up a grilled cheese? #ChallengeACheesemaker.”
I checked a few of the other challenges posted but didn’t think much more about it. I was busy chasing after Stella and Sophia. I received a reply from Kraft to message them if I was interested in talking about my cheese challenge. I thought that was interesting and next think I knew I was emailing with Riley from Leo Burnett about possibly being in a Kraft cheese video with or without the girls. I like a good adventure and we love Kraft cheese so again, I thought this was a good idea. I responded that I was interested and would be delighted to bring the girls should everything work out.
A short time later I was so excited to find out that Sophia, Stella and I would be in a Kraft #ChallengeACheesemaker video. My husband, Tony was intrigued and wanted to know if I thought Sophia and Stella would actually do it. I felt confident on my outgoing Stella would like being in the video but was not so sure about sweet Sophia.
Riley and I talked on the phone and I shared that I was a little worried that Sophia might be glued to my hip the whole time and she assured me that they were looking for real and authentic. I laughed and said we sure had real with our crew. I also asked if I could bring my mom as I wasn’t quite sure how things would go with the girls and she said of course. Riley sent me details on what to wear, logistics, and to plan for about 2-3 hours the afternoon of the video shoot.
The morning of the video filming my mom and I wanted to help get the girls in the spirit of grilled cheese. So, we create an opportunity to talk about Kraft cheese, play with Kraft cheese, and get them fired up about doing the video. I told the girls we were going to make a cheese video like they see on YouTube. Stella loved making grilled cheese with the Kraft Big Slice and Sophia loved the Kraft shredded cheese. I think she ate more than she put on her sandwich. We created some funny videos and ate a bunch of Kraft cheese.
We changed into our cute outfits. Thanks Stitch Fix and the so cute Target Cat & Jack! I did sweet pigtails for Stella with darling bows while Sophia boycotted any type of bow. We loaded up into the minivan and did a quick video. I asked the girls if they were excited for the Kraft cheese video and Sophia yelled “No!” Thank goodness Stella was excited. As Sophia giggled, I wondered if my good idea was really a good idea!
Real, Authentic, & Natural
On the way to the Chicago video location Stella’s bow popped out of her hair and broke. I realized we didn’t have a back up bow. Luckily we found a kid’s hair boutique on the way as I was still going for perfect!
Upon arriving at the video location, we were warmly greeted by Riley from Leo Burnett and the Kraft team. Stella and Sophia were a bit quiet as they took it all in. We settled into the Green Room and Riley brought over crayons and construction paper. Good call by Riley and put to good use.
I knew the plan from previous talks with Riley – paperwork, hangout in the Green Room and then video shoot. Glen helped us with our paperwork and took wardrobe pictures. Sophia was boycotting and Glen assured me we could try again later. The girls loved hitting the snack table and we munched on fruit, cheese, and other snacks. Riley shared that the videos were running a little behind and I told her we were fine, and had no other plans for the day. From my past jobs in events and public affairs I well knew that even the best plans often took longer than anticipated. I knew life can be messy.
Headlines about mergers, jobs, and office locations can be a distraction for big companies, especially when they have big, positive change happening. But what I experienced were people passionately focused on their consumers and extremely excited about their emphasis on being real, honest, and natural with their valued customers. It was awesome because we experienced this all day and their passion and exceptional interactions with the Tortorello crew never changed.
To be honest, we did have to wait about three hours to shoot our video and Sophia, Stella, and my mom were amazing. Rachel offered to take us to a park but I knew if we left there was no way I’d get the girls back in the studio! We hit the snack table a bunch of times, colored, and played games on our iPhones. We were able to checkout the interesting pre-setup in the hallway and watched the chefs prep for the various videos. We peaked into the kitchen video studio and waved at the Kraft and Leo Burnett teams watching the filming on giant TVs in the monitoring rooms. Stella’s pigtails dropped and I asked if I should fix them but was assured they were happy with the real look. At one point the girls wanted to leave so I shifted into bribery mode with the promise of a new toy. The girls became super comfortable in our surroundings and at one point Stella was bouncing across a row of ottomans. And, we talked and talked with our new pals from Kraft and Leo Burnett.
Then it was our turn! We were ushered onto the kitchen set and the engaging director worked with us on where we would stand in the background. Stella got to climb on a quarter apple crate and I held Sophia. It was so interesting to watch the talented team position the cheese and other sandwich items and set production. The camera folks worked with our cheesemaker, Doug and a group sat in high chairs behind the camera’s armed with laptops and notes. I encouraged the girls to smile which only made Sophia hide her head in my shoulder. We started filming and Stella was ready to go! If you know my energetic gal, you can imagine how the beginning went with filming. Cheesemaker Doug talks about our Facebook post and is supposed to turn around and look at us. Stella keep smiling and was doing crazy eyes so every time Doug turned around he burst out laughing. It took about four tries to get the opening shot! We continued filming and Sophia started twirling my hair and swinging her legs. Sophia started pulling on my shirt so I tried to hold her hands in a loving looking way to avoid a wardrobe malfunction. They wanted real and they sure were getting it! It was a little hot under the lights as we moved into the second jazzy cheese sandwich. As they started filming the director laughingly shouted, “We lost the talent!” I looked down to see Stella sitting on her apple crate. I bent down and whispered, “You can get two toys if you stand up!” She jumped up and on we went. We continued on and the girls were champions. I was so proud of them as the director worked with Doug on his lines. We were in the final stretch working on the ending when Sophia decided she was done. I knew we were all in and needed to finish so without batting an eye I whispered to the girls, “Three toys!” They rallied and we were soon finished.
Back in the green room we met up with my mom and I was so appreciative that Riley had brought her into the viewing room with the Kraft and Leo Burnett teams. I was anxious about what Riley and Jonathan thought and they assured me it was great. My mom shared that everyone was cracking up at Stella’s funny faces and that Sophia was sweet. I just hoped that the video would be ok and what they were looking for in a real, authentic campaign!
We were given an awesome Kraft cooler goodie bag and Stella quickly put on her Kraft shirt! We were loaded up with Kraft cheese, a so cool cheese board (thanks Rachel!), Kraft aprons and water bottles, and so many fabulous Kraft treats. (More about the goodie bag in another post!)
After our tired crew went to sleep I had a few minutes to think about our cheesy, awesome, behind the scenes day with Kraft. What I thought might be a good idea ended up being awesome. I’m so thankful we had this unique opportunity and all from answering a Facebook question. This iconic company is working really hard to be honest and real with their customers about their ingredients and their values. I’m really proud to be a part of this #ChallengeACheesemaker campaign and hope you check out the latest from Kraft! A huge thanks to Anne, Jonathan, Riley and Rachel and all the others that made us feel so special. We love Kraft!
And, what you will see in our Kraft #ChallengeACheesemaker video is authentic Sophia and Stella so I’m keep my fingers crossed that it will be cheesy, awesome and perhaps funny! Go to Facebook and search Kraft Natural Cheese to find the #ChallengeACheesemaker posts! The first video is already posted and you can find a great game day snack! Not sure when our video will be live but I will share the link when it is posted!
I'd also like to share a huge thank you to my mom, Bev Murer for joining in this cheesy, awesome day! Mom you were a giant help with Sophia and Stella and I'm grateful for all your help!
I can’t reveal how Doug solved our #CheeseChallenge but if you have ideas on how to jazz up a Kraft grilled cheese please share in the comments below!