That’s the challenge that was given to Victors and Spoils Ad Agency.
New York Times reporter, Michael Moss’s latest article, “Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover” wanted to shed some light onto how advertisements for junk foods stack up to produce advertisements. (After you’re done here give it a read, it’s interesting!) The saying, “You shouldn’t eat foods that have a commercial” is a way of life for some people. Unhealthy products like Coca-Cola, Capt-n-Crunch, and McDonalds have million dollar commercial and ad campaigns. Have you seen commercials for farm-fresh arugula salads with off-the-vine cherry tomatoes or super juicy pineapple!? In an effort to show that public relations can do great things for produce, Moss asked Victor and Spoils to mock up a campaign to revamp broccoli’s negative public image.
A team of Victors and Spoils associates gathered several different types of “data” to poll public opinion. They looked at first impressions when thinking of broccoli, getting typical reactions like, “overcooked, soggy” and “told not to leave the table until I eat it.” They took snapshots of refrigerators to get a sense of how much broccoli is found in the average person’s eating space – needless to say, it was MIA. Then they asked people to write a tombstone epitaph for the little green trees because people always think more fondly of the dead, right!? In the case of broccoli, wrong! They got lame phrases like “Goodbye, old friend. I hardly spent time with you, mainly because I didn’t like you.” Of course, they had to get a sense of how kids feel about broccoli. I have to say the results were pretty surprising. The kids they spoke to “had generally positive feelings” toward the veggie.
They rejected selling the “healthy” approach, which has been the go-to approach for marketing and advertising produce and simply doesn’t work. People will only eat things they want to. They knew they had to get people to want to eat broccoli.
That led them to the conclusion that they would have to make eating broccoli hipster friendly and the new cool vegetable.
What did the Victors and Spoils team come up with? Some B.A. ideas for, what I think, is a pretty untasty veggie:
Broccoli VS. Kale. Create a war. A similar strategy was used with Pepsi and Coke, and sales went up for both despite the seeming enmity it created. They came up with slogans like “Broccoli: Now 43 Percent Less Pretentious Than Kale” and “What Came First, Kale or the Bandwagon?” and “Eat Fad Free: Broccoli v. Kale.”
Broccoli would become the “Alpha Vegetable” with slogans like, “Goes Great With a Side of Steak” and “Melts Butter” and “Never Gets Creamed.”
The last is almost Red Bull-esque (and my personal favorite),“Extreme Brocking.” The plan includes getting a helicopter to lift some broccoli “over a volcano and roast it.”
So what’s the price tag for giving broccoli a makeover? The plan they came up with was $3 to $7 million, which is within the kind of budget found in the produce industry. Meaning this campaign is something that could be executed and would, more than likely, increase sales. Wouldn’t you at least take note of broccoli and give a chance!?
And of course, I have a recommendation to add to this cool mock-up. Traditional broccoli doesn’t have to be the monopoly. Try some other options in the broccoli family, purple kohlrabi anyone? What about Romanesco!? If it looks like that, I want some!