How do you increase sales of broccoli?
As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Moss recently discovered, you design an advertising campaign that comes out swinging.
“[You] pick a fight with one of the sexiest, hottest vegetables in North America right now – kale,” Moss says.
Moss, a New York Times journalist who recently published Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, wanted to see what would happen if the same expertise that goes in to selling processed foods was put to work selling healthier fare. So he approached U.S.-based ad agency Victors & Spoils, which has created campaigns for Coca-Cola, Quiznos and General Mills, amongst others.
“I said ‘Hey, could you guys apply your genius to selling not soda but a vegetable, and not any vegetable, but one of the toughest ones out there to sell to people – broccoli. They took on the challenge and went to work,” Moss says.
What resulted was a campaign that picked a fight not with processed foods, but with one of the trendiest vegetables out there – kale. Watch a video of Moss explaining how Victors & Spoils determined the best way to reinvent the vegetable we love to hate.
The campaign that resulted was a comedic extreme-makeover of sorts that pegged broccoli as the “alpha vegetable,” deeming it “43% less pretentious than kale” and “the meat of any salad.” Read Moss’ article about the re-branding of broccoli here.
Moss discovered the people who were most excited about the campaign were those directly involved with growing and marketing produce.
“Up until this time [these groups] have resisted and frowned upon using even mass market-type techniques to reach people – they’ve been relying on the government or public agencies to get us to eat more fruits and vegetables by telling us that it’s good for us. I think everyone now realizes that preaching doesn’t sell. Health is a nice message that’s OK to have, but you’re not going to drive up consumption on a health message alone.”
In Salt Sugar Fat, Moss outlines the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. He reveals how companies use salt, sugar and fat to make processed food as alluring as possible and how important a role the marketing of these products has played. In the video below Moss speaks to the power marketing has played in the processed food industry.
Want to hear more? Michael Moss will be in Winning on February 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Masonic Centre. The Winnipeg Foundation and Food Matters Manitoba are proud to present this event as part of the Growing Local Conference 2014. Tickets are $30 or $15 for Growing Local Conference attendees. For more information please visit www.wpgfdn.org/michaelmoss.