A.1. Cuts Ties with Steak; Consumers Approve

By Lincoln Rinehart


Kraft Foods A.1. Case Study

A.1. is a sauce created by Kraft Foods that is traditionally known as a steak sauce. Sales of A.1. began in 1831, and from the 1960s until May of 2014 the sauce was marketed as “original Steak Sauce.”

In 2014 Kraft Foods decided to market A.1. as a sauce that could be used on much more than steak. This decision was accompanied by a video (below) shared on A.1.’s Facebook page – the video announced that A.1. is no longer in an exclusive relationship with steak, and is now called “A.1. Original Sauce.”

Not only did A.1. break up with it’s beefy companion, but the brand also began relationships with several other foods to announce that the sauce was no longer meant just for steak.

Key Insights to the A.1. Case Study

The social media campaign was nominated for a Shorty Award in 2015 with a description claiming that the sauce had to change because it was “the clear category leader in a dying category.” People were no longer buying sauce exclusively for steaks. It was crucial that the brand pivoted in a way that opens the market to consumers of all sauces, rather than just the niche, steak sauce consumer.

The video was originally posted on Facebook and currently has 3,147 likes and 796 shares. The second time A.1. posted the video to its Facebook page it garnered an additional 3,835 likes and 906 shares. The YouTube video has 1.3 million views, and an article on econsultancy.com claimed that the video was viewed nearly “100,000 times in a couple of weeks.”


Why is this Case a #SocialWin?

CP+B is the agency responsible for this innovative and epic implementation of a new brand image. The campaign was an effective combination of humor and strategy, and made clever use of the resources available to brands on social media. The video shows A.1. changing its relationship status with steak to “It’s complicated” and messaging steak on Facebook.

The humor behind A.1. being in a relationship also humanizes the brand, making it more relatable to consumers. Many people have been in a situation where they are with a significant other but are considering seeing other people. Although it’s main purpose is humor, an underlying effect of personifying the brand on social media might be increased brand loyalty.

The advertisement ended with the quote: “For almost everything. Almost.” which clearly announced A.1.’s entry into the general sauce category. The advertisement dominated its goals of making a groundbreaking announcement that A.1. broke up with steak. The social media video was accompanied by the integration of the campaign into several additional platforms including TV, radio and in-store ads.

Obviously the social component – the video shared on Facebook and YouTube – can be declared a #socialwin because of the high amount of shares and interactions with the content. Many users interacting on Facebook commented on the original video and agreed that A.1. didn’t belong with steak in the first place. This is a perfect case where the company recognized that consumers were not using the product the way it was being marketed and effectively rebranded. In fact, the only recommendation worth making to the campaign is shortening the video shared on social media; it runs a bit long at 1:59.

What we can take from this is that social media provides opportunities for companies to seek out what consumers want, and when brands give their consumers exactly what they want (with a creative twist) the return can be extraordinary.



A.1. Facebook page. (2014, May 14). [Facebook post]. Retrieved  from https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=664445756937721

A.1. Facebook page. (2014, June 11). [Facebook post]. Retrieved  from https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=678608958854734

(2014, May 15). After 50 Years, A.1. Steak Sauce Ends Exclusive Relationship With Beef,    Drops “Steak” From Name And Friends Other Foods. prnewswire. Retrieved    from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/after-50-years-a1-steak-sauce-ends-  exclusive-relationship-with-beef-drops-steak-from-name-and-friends-other-foods-  259402271.html

(2014). 7th Annual Shorty Awards Nominee description. Retrieved  from http://shortyawards.com/7th/a1-new-friend-requests

Moth, David. (2014, May 28).  Seven of the best social media campaigns of May.  econsultancy.  Retrieved from https://econsultancy.com/blog/64913-seven-of-the-best-  social-media-campaigns-from-may#i.x18oluxwmfntyo

Oster, Erik. (2014, May 15). CP+B Changes A.1.’s Relationship Status with Steak. adweek.  Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/cpb-changes-a1s-relationship-  status-with-steak/66579








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