Good homemade mac-n-cheese dishes are a real weakness for me, so this past weekend I couldn’t resist capturing this image from a local restaurant menu:

Although our daughter wasn’t with us for this particular experience, I couldn’t help being amused by the “not kraft mac n cheese” menu item, as she has been probing a wide variety of waitstaff for years about whether their mac-n-cheese on the kids menu is kraft. In her early years, the affirmative was a good thing, then one day it all changed. So, she still asks the question, but the answer triggers a different response, and she hasn’t gone back (at least in the restaurant setting).

I’ve seen many instances where a restaurant will refer to its “adult” or “homemade” or “comfort” or “gourmet” mac-n-cheese menu items, but I’ve never seen one so directly try to communicate the same thing by saying what it isn’t — perhaps because the meaning behind this product image is etched in all our minds when mac-n-cheese is spoken:

For what it’s worth, the anti-kraft moxie in the name got my attention enough to try it, and while the side dish literally lived up to its anti-name, it didn’t live up to what I was hoping for, so it was a brand experience that won’t be repeated.

In the end, I’m thinking it isn’t enough for a brand to simply stand against another — it still needs to stand on its own unique qualities and merits. Agree?

By the way, I’m looking forward to experiencing whether this spot lives up to my high hopes the next time I’m in Oakland — anyone know how it is, one way or the other?