Philly brand manager on targeting millennials, gen Zs with new ghost pepper cream cheese

A Little Taste of Hell is now available on Uber Eats, served with a waiver for those brave enough to try it
philly cream cheese a little taste of hell
Photography courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Well, this is a hell of a departure for Philadelphia Cream Cheese. The brand that brought us the beloved Philly Angel has taken a devilish turn with a new hot-as-hell test product called A Little Taste of Hell.

Debuting on Friday the 13th, A Little Taste of Hell is made with ghost pepper extract measured at 1,041,427 Scoville Heat Units – which senior brand manager Keenan White says is about 208 times hotter than jalapeños., meanwhile, calls the ghost pepper “the bad boy of the chili world,” noting that the Indian army has turned it into military-grade smoke bombs and local residents smear it on fences and walls to keep wild elephants at bay.

The limited-edition A Little Taste of Hell product is being made available exclusively to Uber Eats customers for the wickedly appropriate price of $6.66. It comes with a waiver for recipients to sign, acknowledging “the possibility of any and all forms of fiery doom” they may experience upon consuming the product.

“I promise to adhere to the supplied application of a 2 oz schmear for my own safety, and to apply said schmear with caution,” the waiver continues. “I accept full responsibility for my actions and accept any and all potential tears, milk gargling, writhing in pain, cries for Mommy, and utter humiliation that may accompany my participation in this event or activity.”  

philly cream cheese a little taste of hell
Photography courtesy Philadelphia Cream Cheese

But is it really hot, or just marketing hot? It’s legit, White insists. “Based on the reactions of several self-proclaimed spice lovers, including myself, and their need to counteract the spice with a healthy dose of regular Philly Cream Cheese, we are confident A Little Taste of Hell will challenge your taste buds,” he says.

Hot and spicy foods are very much on trend among millennial and Gen Z consumers, says White. “We wanted to provide our younger demographic with a unique experience they’ll be tempted to try — a spicy surprise that elevates the taste they already know and love,” he says. “We’re looking forward to seeing the reaction of our Philly fans and can’t wait to hear their thoughts on this spicy challenge that was created just for them!”

The brand worked with Kraft Heinz Canada’s ghost kitchen concept Kitchen 57 to develop A Little Taste of Hell. White says that as a “consumer-obsessed” leader in the cream cheese category, Philly is committed to finding new ways to approach trends and engage fans.

“Knowing millennials and gen Zs have a strong preference for spicy foods and crave the heat, we looked to get these spicy food connoisseurs fired up by bringing them one of the spiciest cream cheeses in Canadian history through A Little Taste of Hell,” he says. “This modern approach and engaging campaign allow us to strengthen our bond with adventurous spice lovers through a unique, sensorial experience.”

Philly leaned into its heavenly positioning last year with a campaign called “Stairway to Heaven,” which saw it create an interactive staircase to the sky inside Toronto’s Metrocentre. The Philly-branded staircase featured heaven-inspired décor, as well as a motion-activated choir that serenaded anyone who opted to climb the stairs.

The company was non-commital when asked if Friday’s test would determine if A Little Taste of Hell could become a permanent addition to its cream cheese line-up. But if consumers respond enthusiastically to the test, it might have a devil of a time saying no.

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