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From Junk Food to Veggies: Borrowing Marketing Strategies

Contact Author Abby Penning
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Turns out, the key to getting kids to eat their vegetables is a big green ogre. Or possibly packaging and advertising set to mimic the junk food industry.

Recent marketing efforts for Vidalia onions and baby carrots, respectively, show how a twist in pitching products to consumers have capitalized on pop culture and more hip imaging than traditional promotions of health and lifestyle benefits, and have also targeted an ever-increasingly important buyer—kids. Vidalia onions partnered with DreamWorks movie Shrek Forever After, featuring the signature green cartoon image on packaging and in-store displays, and saw a significant jump in sales in the spring and early summer of 2010. Additionally, carrot growers such as Bolthouse Farms launched junk food-stylized promotions, which include packaging designed to look like bags of potato chips and the ability to buy bags of baby carrots out of vending machines, in the fall of 2010 to capitalize on the back-to-school schedule.

Giving a hip appeal to products that traditionally have seemed less cool, these marketing efforts are breathing more of a childlike life into products that are typically seen as adult fare. Additionally, the promotions, though seeming to target a younger demographic, don’t just appeal to kids. These efforts also have made these products a talking point, whether it’s through moms figuring out ways to incorporate Vidalias into a larger range of meals, after kids begged their parents to pick up a bag of Shrek-annointed onions, or discussions on the merits of touting carrots with slogans such as “The original orange doodles.”

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