WWTT? Philadelphia Cream Cheese Exposes Thanksgiving Cover-Up in New Ad

Thanksgiving is next week in the U.S., and many of us are already sorting out the logistics of holiday travel, planning menus, and writing out shopping lists. If cream cheese isn’t on your shopping list — you know, to make the traditional Thanksgiving cheesecake — then it appears that you, too, have succumb to the Thanksgiving cover-up.

According to  Philadelphia Cream Cheese, cheesecake was the “true” dessert sitting on the Pilgrims’ tables in 1621. And with the help of the Cheesecakers Society, some true crime docu-drama flair, and the creative assistance of independent ad agency Gut, Philadelphia Cream Cheese is ready to shed light on this Thanksgiving cover-up.

Megan Magnuson, associate director of marketing for Philadelphia Cream Cheese, spoke to Campaign about the Thanksgiving cover-up:

“At first, we were hesitant about the theory. But once we saw the evidence and the original paintings, it was clear to us. Cheesecake is 100% the original Thanksgiving dessert. We think. We fully support the honorable Cheesecakers Society in their quest to restore cheesecake to its rightful place at the Thanksgiving table.”

Of course, Magnuson is just playing along with the fun of this “Thanksgiving cover-up” because there’s no way there was cheesecake on the first Thanksgiving table — no one had access to the ingredients!

Philadelphia Cream Cheese has leaned into the campaign heavily on Twitter, posting polls like the one below, and including images that “clearly” show that cheesecake was the dessert of choice back in 1621 (again … it wasn’t!)

Conspiracy silliness aside, Philadelphia Cream Cheese did include an offer via social … according to the tweet below, individuals could like the tweet, and they would be sent a cheesecake recipe (sadly, I think I missed the cut off, but would be intrigued to see the recipe … for science, of course.) It’s a smart item to include, especially if someone wants to experiment with baking a cheesecake. A sweeter deal would have also included a coupon for cream cheese, but now I’m just getting greedy (or hungry?)

According to Campaign, this omnichannel campaign from Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Gut includes the short documentary-style Cheesecakers Society video, social media mentions, digital, as well as billboards and print — all sharing the truth about this cheesecake conspiracy.

While this Thanksgiving cover-up campaign is totally silly and absolutely not supported by any real facts (again, cream cheese was not a staple in the new world in the 17th Century), Philadelphia Cream Cheese and Gut went all in to become front-of-mind for consumers this holiday. As of Nov. 21, the video has more than 2.5 million views on YouTube, and it will be interesting to see if sales get a bump.

Marketers, what do you think of this campaign? Tell me in the comments below, and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving next week if you celebrate!

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