Real Moist Mayo - © 2023 Kraft

Kraft Wants Us to Rehabilitate A Cringeworthy Word

Kraft has pulled some pretty nutty – albeit creative – promo stunts in the past. Now they’re trying to get one of the most cringe-worthy words in the language chosen as ‘Word of the Year’. I don’t think so…

Kraft Moist - © 2023 Kraft Moist - 2023 - Don Treeger - repub.comKraft ‘gifted’ Mirriam-Webster with a huge Moist Mayo jar statue.
I think M-W got the point…

What’s going on?

Kraft wants dictionary powerhouse Mirriam-Webster to declare ‘moist’ the 2023 word of the year. To accomplish that, Kraft needs your help. Or should I say, connivance?

Turns out that the word M-W declares the lanuguage’s star of the year is the one most searched for online during that year. Kraft wants you to search it. Search it early. Search it often.

The not-so-subtle point is, Kraft wants to get maximum bang for its promo bucks by getting everyone talking about ‘moist’ – in particular its new Kraft Real Moist Mayo. Whoa! I just gave it a plug, and I’ve always preferred Hellman’s. Those crafty Kraft people got me!


A decades-long rivalry

Kraft has been locked in a fierce struggle with Hellman’s to claim the North American mayonnaise crown for decades. The ‘moist’ gambit is just the latest shot from the Kraft side.

And I fully expect Hellman’s to fire back with some sort of counter-promo within weeks or months.

Rehabilitate ‘moist’?

Regardless of the outcome of the campaign to get you to search ‘moist’ online, I personally doubt that the other goal behind the promo will pan out. Kraft says it wants to rehabilitate the word ‘moist’. It was voted the most cringeworthy word in the English Language in a 2018 study cited by All Ears The Top 5 most-cringeworthy were:

  1. Moist
  2. Phlegm
  3. Slurp (cultural!)
  4. Mucus
  5. Pulp

What makes ‘moist’ so… Icky?

Some of the polls AEE looked at in its study provided insights into the nature of ‘moist’s cringeworthyness…

  • People are disgusted by words like ‘moist’ in certain circumstances
  • People ARE NOT disgusted when ‘moist’ is used in reference to a cake or something like that
  • People ARE disgusted when the word ‘moist’ is used in reference to bodily functions.
  • Which is precisely the circumstance in which the word disgusts people. And when even you might cringe.

My take

I suppose there’s a (far) outside chance that ‘moist’ will be named the word of the year by Mirram-Webster. But I doubt it.

On the other hand, when the Canadian Cost Guard got a new coastal patrol boat a few years back, they held a contest to choose its name. Folks from across he country registered their votes online. They could suggest any name they wanted, and vote as many times as thay wanted.

When the votes were counted, it turned out that a group of Nova Scotia wisecrackers had stuffed the ballot box. The winning name was… Boaty McBoatface. Rather than renege on the contest, the Coast Guard did christen the ship Boaty McBoatface – for its first year in service. Then they quietly changed it to something more conventional. No contest involved, this time.

On the other issue raised in this post… I am very skeptical that Kraft will manage to change anybody’s mind about the cringeworthyness of ‘moist’. It won the ‘most cringeworthy’ crown fair and square, based on some of the most fundamental human feelings and cultural influences. ‘Moist’ will forever be ‘moist’ to me.

~ Maggie J.