Pardon me, is that an old Grey Poupon commercial?

Kraft dusts off its famous ad for the Oscars in a nostalgic attempt to cut the mustard.

For the first time in 16 years, viewers will be treated to a Grey Poupon commercial during the Academy Awards this weekend. The new $1.7 million spot starts where the classic commercial ends -- with one aristocrat passing a jar of Dijon to another.

But in the updated version, one of the men takes off a chase ensues and things start to explode. Michael Mann would be proud.

Kraft is dusting off its famous campaign as the company’s share of the mustard market has stagnated in recent years. Matthew Hudak, a food analyst with market research firm Euromonitor says it’s not just Grey Poupon that’s struggling. He says the yellow stuff has a marketing problem.

“It’s just one simple flavor. Current taste, especially for younger consumers is something more interesting, something more bold. And I mean bold and interesting don’t always go hand-in-hand with mustard,” he says.

Over the past five years, the analyst says mustard consumption is down by about 2.5 percent. Part of the problem people has been the war on carbohydrates, people are eating fewer sandwiches. At the same time, hot sauce is on the rise.

I took a quick trip to a grocery store in north Philly saw how mustard is trying to keep up with its condiment cousin. You’ve got all these exotic flavors -- at least by the standards of mustard: Roasted habenero, horseradish, wasabi, Texas chili, mango, smoky chipotle.

Hudak says the one thing Gray Poupon has going for it, is the past. “Playing on nostalgia, playing on what you remember when you were younger has been working well for a lot of other companies,” he says.

The challenge for Grey Poupon is making two elitists driving around in Rolls Royces as interesting as sriracha or Louisiana Hot Sauce that’s just a shelf away.

About the author

Dan Gorenstein is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Health Desk. You can follow him on Twitter @dmgorenstein.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...