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.
It seems that the real trouble is obfuscation of the product through packaging and the fact that this is completely acceptable.
Have you ever seen an ingredient list/nutritional info on a slim jim? Did you know that ‘Animal Digest’–the first ingredient to most pet food–is boiled down animal feces? Obfuscation and dressing up the food is an accepted practice, and this campaign underscores this fact.
Its better if the general public ate healthier because it will improve our world (social and physical). Maybe this repackaging of carrots will help this. But the real issue is diet, and I mean in the old, greek sense of ‘lifestyle’. People need to become interested in what they are putting into their body (food, drink, drugs, etc). The first step is to have people care about these issues.
We appreciate your comment. Diet is certainly an important aspect of society, and I think the proper way to go about it is for there to be more transparency with what people are consuming, and focus on overall diet. Like you said, companies are tricking people by using different words, they are also tricking people by making consumers believe a food is something it’s not (i.e. Healthy food is junk food, and vice versa). It is quite interesting to see the impact changing words and brand images around has on consumption habits
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