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Athenos ad authentic, amusing

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Updated: June 12, 2011 4:45AM

It’s become increasingly apparent that Kraft Foods is moving away — far away — from the drearily formulaic, product-benefit-focused advertising that was so omnipresent for so long.

Now we are beginning to see fresher, punchier — and dare we say much more interesting — advertising for a whole raft of Kraft Foods brands. The newest wave of ads breaking today is for Kraft’s Athenos brand, which includes hummus, Greek yogurt, feta cheese and pita chip products. Droga5/New York developed the campaign with the tag line “Approved by Yiayia.”

For Athenos’ first-ever television campaign, Droga5 and Kraft decided to make it as authentic as possible. The commercials — three of them — were all cast and filmed in Greece.

And Katherine Boulukos, a founder of the Greek Museum in New York City, consulted on the campaign to ensure it reflected a true Greek sensibility.

The centerpiece of the advertising is a very opinionated elderly lady called “Yiayia,” the Greek word for grandmother. Yiayia is invited to comment on different scenarios, and she readily does so with pithy, provocative observations.

In a spot promoting Athenos hummus, for instance, we see a young lady about to serve some of the product to her friends. But Yiayia sees only a woman dressed like a prostitute.

The remark stuns the young lady, which only prompts Yiayia to repeat the remark. But it would appear all is quickly forgiven when Yiayia discovers the hostess is serving Athenos hummus.

Another even more amusing spot opens with a lovely young couple announcing that they start their day with Athenos yogurt. But Yiayia wants to know if they are married. When they reveal they aren’t, she promptly declares the couple will go to hell. Obviously Yiayia isn’t one to mince words. And maybe she’s telling us if one lives in Greece, it would be better to tie the knot than to live together.

Whatever one thinks of Yiayia’s old-world morals, she’s a vibrant character with excellent comedic delivery. She should make a good ambassador for Athenos — that is if Kraft and Droga5 can continue to find fun ways to use her.

Lew’s view: B+

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