For last week’s health issue of The New York Times magazine, writer Michael Moss presented the Boulder-based advertising agency Victors & Spoils with a unique challenge: make broccoli popular. Moss enlisted the company to create a fictitious campaign around broccoli for the piece, to see if the same marketing methods that are applied to junk foods, could work for the overlooked vegetable.
The article explores Americans’ unhealthy eating habits and how the lure of a sexy campaign, could persuade consumers to change what they buy. Writes Moss:
For all the evidence piling up on behalf of the benefits of eating more produce, it has become clear that neither children nor adults will do so unless they want to, and preaching about health benefits doesn’t make people want to do anything. Health messages are simply overwhelmed, in volume and in effectiveness, by junk-food ads that often deploy celebrities or cartoon characters to great effect.
The Victors & Spoils campaign took a page out of the junk food marketing rule book and emulated the soda wars of the 1980s, by creating a battle between broccoli and the currently trendy kale. One slogan for the fictitious Broccoli Commission of America was ‘Broccoli: Now 43 Percent Less Pretentious Than Kale.’ Another prong of the campaign was to turn broccoli into an ‘alpha’ vegetable, bringing it to the center of the dinner plate as opposed to an afterthought side dish.
It should be noted that Victors & Spoils have worked with junk food brands such as Coca-Cola, so knew exactly what they were doing. Andy Nathan, Victors & Spoils Chief Marketing Officer said in a statement:
We built a 130-person community of experts and creatives to treat broccoli as a brand that you will be inspired to connect with, as opposed to a vegetable you are being convinced to eat. It was an exercise in finding the emotional truth behind broccoli, as opposed to repeating the rational benefits we’ve become immune to hearing.
Despite the fact that the campaign was not real, the article highlights the need for change in the marketing of healthy produce, to make vegetables enticing to the public.
Check out the fake campaign below:
Source: New York Times Magazine
Images: New York Times Magazine