Have you heard about the new ad campaign that’s branding baby carrots as junk food? Not an alternative to junk food. But junk food’s cheeky, farm-fresh cousin. There will be crinkly, snacky-type bags, some sold in vending machines, all labeled with the hipster directive to “Eat ’em like junk food.”
In a world of food gone crazy, this is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.
Something like 50 carrot growers are teaming up to spend $25 million to persuade parents and kids that eating carrots is good not because carrots are nutritional powerhouses and tasty, too, but because they’re orange and doodle-shaped like Cheetos. (Haven’t we been down this road with cartoon characters?)
Here’s Bolthouse Farms CEO Jeff Dunn (a former Coca-Cola executive) in yesterday’s USA Today story: “It’s not an anti-junk-food campaign. It takes a page out of junk food’s playbook and applies it to baby carrots.”
Because, of course, junk food is such a good role model.
But the best bit belongs to advertising psychologist Carol Moog, who, according to the story, “says kids may be disappointed to find all the flashy ads are really just for carrots. She says they need to make carrots more fun — like, perhaps, putting an orange (but natural) dusting on carrots that mimics Cheetos.”
Moment of silence, please, as I ponder the ridiculousness of that statement.
So. What do you think? Harmless fun? Or hell in a handbasket?
Some trivia: Did you know that “baby” carrots are, in fact, whole carrots chopped and whittled to nubs? Fascinating backstory here.