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    Cheez-It taps Pandora to produce ‘sonically-aged’ cheddar crackers

    • Cheez-It produced “sonically-aged” cheese for its crackers with help from the music streaming service Pandora, according to a news release.
    • The idea was inspired by a 2019 study that found aging cheese with hip-hop music affected the final product’s taste and smell. Cheez-It tapped Pandora to curate songs that shared qualities with those used in the research to experiment on its own snacks over six and a half months.
    • The resulting Cheez-It x Pandora Aged by Audio crackers will be available on CheezItHQ.com starting May 26. The website will also host a link to a special Pandora mixtape related to the campaign, while Cheez-It is working with SiriusXM radio host Sway Calloway to promote the limited-run drop to music-loving consumers.

    Cheez-It is attempting to ingrain its cheddar-flavored crackers in the world of hip-hop through the unusual partnership with Pandora. The two companies cite research conducted between Käsehaus K3, a cheese shop in Switzerland, and students at the country’s Sound Arts HKB school that suggests sonic attributes like tempo and frequency can affect the cheese-making process, strengthening taste and smell. The obscure study was run as part of the HKB Goes Ashore initiative.

    For consumers interested in the types of tracks used to age the Cheez-It cheese, the campaign includes a playlist on Pandora that goes live May 26. Those who purchase the Cheez-It x Pandora Aged by Audio product will also receive a free 90-day Pandora Premium trial, potentially driving sign-ups for the streaming service.

    Cheez-It also is throwing an influencer marketing component into the mix through the partnership with Sway Calloway. The brand is involved with the launch of the hip-hop personality’s new YouTube series, “Living Legendz,” which profiles hip-hop icons. The program is additionally being promoted on Calloway’s Instagram and Twitter. SiriusXM, where Calloway acts as a radio host, owns Pandora.

    Cheez-It is using the oddball collaboration with the streamer to support CheezItHQ.com, a direct-to-consumer (DTC) site that went live for the Kellog-owned brand’s centennial last year. Along with snacks, the platform sells a variety of merchandise targeted at Cheez-It diehards. Visitors placing orders for the Cheez-It x Pandora Aged by Audio boxes can get free shipping by adding items like headphones or a new bucket hat to their basket, per the release.

    DTC bets like CheezItHQ.com can help brands prove they have real equity with consumers who are willing to shell out for products outside of the usual food and beverage wheelhouse. They also serve as owned sales channels for acquiring first-party data — an increasingly important asset for packaged goods companies that are wrestling with the deprecation of other methods of data acquisition and ad targeting.

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