At the local Wegmans, here in Syracuse, shoppers may have noticed a new style of packaging for baby carrots. The carrots appear in packaging that resembles a potato chip bag, complete with attractive images and colors. Syracuse and Cincinnati were picked as test markets to roll out a re-branding campaign for baby-carrots launched by the carrot industry. The packaging is not all; the $25-million campaign features a whole slew of entertaining ads, a flashy website, and of course, an iPhone App. The idea is to make baby carrots more appealing to the general public – hip, cool, and sexy.
The campaign is an attempt to move away from the healthy (but boring) brand image that has been attached to baby-carrots since their creation. The new tagline, “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food,” is the key to this new strategy. Why recreate a completely new image when you can associate yourself with something people already love? I think the old phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them” is appropriate here. While eating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become more mainstream as of late, it appears that just won’t cut it in terms of sales figures; the new tactic is to embrace the junk-food image.
Most of the campaign’s direction can likely be contributed to market research. Market research is used to determine a product’s brand image from the eye of the consumer, answering questions like: What drives consumption? What motivates repeat customers? With the new branding, consumers believe the carrots taste better, so clearly, image is everything. Market research provides consumer insight used for advertising, packaging, and promotions. This is a great illustration of how price and taste are not the only parts playing a role in determining overall success of a product. (Click here to read a post on: Products Begging for Market Research).
While I personally feel this is a smart idea for marketing a product, the campaign method brings up a few concerns and questions. We already see junk food everyday being branded as healthy food (SunChips – 30% less fat than regular potato chips!) and now healthy food being branded as junk food. This type of branding is an attempt to create a product that has mass appeal. Are these methods pushing the limits of altering a brand’s image by misleading consumers? Would it be better if companies were more transparent with their product’s purpose? The baby carrot industry will soon find out. Please feel free to comment below.