Wednesday, April 20, 2011

KD kicks back at university nutrition program

According to CBC News, Dan Clapson, a Calgary food blogger and nutrition educator at the University of Calgary has been served with a cease and desist order from Kraft's legal team.

What did he do? He struck at the heart of the megabrand's target market with a healthy cooking course for university students called "Kick the KD".

The name itself is a little provocative, but what probably really poked the bear is the graphic used on his site:

The parody of Kraft's blue and orange Kraft Dinner box must have set alarm bells ringing at corporate. Especially since Canadian university students are known for consuming mass quantities of the dayglo starchy goop.

Dan's description states,

"In a nutshell, this is a pilot cooking program in association with the University of Calgary’s Students’ Union. Kick The KD is aimed at local students who are interested in expanding their culinary horizons. We understand that ‘quick and easy’ food is a perfect fit for the busy student life, but not everything that’s simple has to come out of a box or take-out container."

And this is a real issue. Not ever learning how to cook real food can lead top a lifetime of poor nutrition, poor health, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer and early death.

Dan told CBC, "This program has been running for a while, so I was definitely surprised. I am just one person and I don't really feel comfortable picking a fight with a billion-dollar company."

He added a little more on his blog:

"I do appreciate the fighting spirit of my KTKD-ers (can I still call them that?), and I am as let down as they are that a small, fifteen person cooking class can’t use a name with ‘KD’ in the title. Using a nickname like ‘KD’ (again, not knowing it was trademarked), for me, encompassed any semblance of mac ‘n’ cheese (is that trademarked?) coming out of a cardboard box. The idea of this program was never to say: ‘Stop eating that right now, or else!’, it is meant to give students exposure to hands-on cooking, where they can see different dishes and think: ‘Ok, that was surprisingly easy and just as convenient as making a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese!’"

But then, as a good cook, he attempts to make lemonade. Dan accepts his fate, and facing a May 2 deadline to find a new name, he has opened it up to crowdsourcing. (Just don't suggest "Ditch the Domino's" or "Dump The Double Down", okay?)

Although I expected better from KD. I mean, Canadians are going to make fun of Kraft Dinner, the same way we make fun of Timmy's coffee and Crappy Tire. It doesn't mean we hate these things. It's just the way we roll in Canada.

From Toronto Life

The fact that Kraft Dinner is a beloved meme here is a major force behind its popularity in Canada — that and its association with youthful excess.

Isn't there an internet rule about this?

We even loved when South Park, in lampooning Canadians with Terrence and Phillip, had them go on about Kraft Dinner (since Americans just call it "Mac 'n' Cheese).

Dan has probably gained a great deal of public goodwill from this episode, while Kraft — although presumably within their intellectual property rights — only looks like the bad guy with no sense of humour.

Sorry, KD. You suck. That's just the way it goes on the social internet.


  1. I wonder whatever happened to 'No Publicity is Bad Publicity'?

  2. Everything changed. Everything :)