A supermarket chain’s animated holiday commercial is causing a deeply emotional reaction online.
On Nov. 8, Kroger announced the release of its holiday ad, titled “Cuisine Exchange,” which features the brand’s animated “Kroji” (aka Kroger emoji) characters, and it’s already got people talking — and crying. Created by New York ad agency adam&eveDDB, the commercial may only run one minute and 14 seconds, but the effect it’s had on the internet far exceeds its runtime.
The ad opens with a childless couple deciding they would like to welcome a foreign exchange student into their home. As Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” plays, a young girl from Mexico named Valentina arrives. Realizing she’s homesick, the couple cooks her pozole, a Mexican stew, using ingredients from Kroger.
We’re then treated to a montage of the couple enjoying marshmallows and cocoa, chili peppers and tamales with Valentina in the time she is in their care. After she returns to Mexico, the couple decides to host other students from all over the world.
The ad shows student visits through photographs: a child from Japan enjoying soba, another from Denmark putting the finishing touches on aebleskiver, and a kid from Italy making panettone, among others. All of these dishes, by the way, are eaten during the winter months and holidays around the world — a clever touch.
At the end of the commercial, the wife, now old and gray, reflects on their memories wistfully by looking at the photographs on the fridge, so her husband decides to present her with the most touching surprise of her life. Later, as they’re reading by the fire and Christmas tree, they hear a knock at the door, so they open it to find all of their former exchange students. They all pitch in by cooking their signature dishes to create a beautiful, multicultural feast.
“Food connects us all,” reads the tagline at the end of the spot.
Reaction online to the commercial has been overwhelmingly positive, with folks posting about the effect it had on their heartstrings.
“cried over a Kroger ad it’s time to pack it up everybody,” wrote one X user.
“Not a Kroger ad making me SOB??? I’m going to bed. 😭,” wrote another.
“Ya’ll ain’t have to hurt me like this,” commented one person on YouTube.
“i’m not crying, it’s the fresh onions from kroger 😢,” someone else commented, this time on a TikTok of the ad superimposed with the words, “This Kroger ad had me SOBBING.”
“my aunt couldn’t have kids so she housed foreign exchange students. this ad hit hard 😭,” wrote another TikTok user.
Of course, Kroger is thrilled with the response the ad is eliciting from viewers.
“We’re delighted by all the positive reactions to our holiday message. It’s a heartfelt story,” Tom Duncan, Kroger’s head of marketing, tells TODAY.com. “We cried happy tears bringing it to life. And we’re so grateful to see the same reactions from all our customers and the internet at large.”
Kroger’s national ad campaign will run on cable television and on streaming in the form of 30-second and 60-second ads until Dec. 31, but the ad can be seen in its entirety on the supermarket chain’s YouTube or website.
“If you think about our approach this year versus last year, we really celebrated holiday memories through a lifetime of different meals. This year’s film builds on that idea … that food is a big part of holiday memories,” Duncan told Ad Age.
Additionally, Kroger says it’s planning on launching a social video campaign through its “Holiday Table” program, where international guests will exchange personal recipes and stories with people from around the United States. This way, folks who loved the ad can connect with others through food, just like in the commercial.