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Preaching doesn't seem to work, neither does rationality. So how do you convince people to choose carrots over Cheetos? For Bolthouse Farms, the answer is to market the healthy food as if it were junk food.
“They are neon orange, outrageously crunchy and strangely addictive.”
No, Omid Farhang, vice president and group creative director at the ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky, isn’t describing Xxxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or All Nighter Cheeseburger Doritos—although he could be. Farhang is talking about carrots, baby carrots to be exact.
“Baby carrots have a lot in common with junk food,” Farhang says. “The only thing missing is the junk food advertising.”
Not any longer.
Stealing a page from the potato chip playbook, Farhang and his team at CP+ B launched “Eat ’Em Like Junk Food,” an advertising and packaging campaign for Bolthouse Farms and its baby carrots. The $25 million campaign features junk food-inspired TV spots, billboards, packaging, school vending machines and even an iPhone game called Xtreme Xruch Kart, which is powered by crunching carrots into the phone.
“What we really are trying to do is change the way people think about fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Bryan Reese, chief marketing and innovation officer at Bolthouse Farms. “We are trying to make baby carrots a brand and not a vegetable anymore.”
To date, the baby carrots advertising is playing in only two markets: Cincinnati and Syracuse, New York. The in-store advertising and packaging can also be found in San Antonio, Texas.
When it was launched in August, the baby carrots campaign generated a remarkable amount of buzz given its small scope. It was talked up on National Public Radio and featured in USA Today, Huffington Post and Ad Age. In October, Bolthouse Farms earned more national coverage for the campaign with its Scarrots product—individually wrapped bags of baby carrots all dressed up for Halloween trick or treating.
“That impact is resulting certainly in increased consumption, but we are also getting some other benefits from it,” Reese says. “We know that people are talking about baby carrots more. We can measure that by looking at how often baby carrots are mentioned in blogs and how many people come to our website [www.babycarrots.com] to find out more information about the campaign. Lots of people are asking to get these kinds of campaign elements in their markets. So far the feedback has been very, very good.”
NewHope360 spoke with Bolthouse Farms and CP+B to learn more about the thinking behind the baby carrots campaign and to tease out what marketers of other healthy products can learn from this approach.