Baby carrots launched as junk food
Baby carrot farmers in the US are launching a campaign which pitches the little, orange, crunchy snacks as daring, fun and naughty, just like junk food.
A group of 50 producers hopes the Eat 'Em Like Junk Food scheme starting next week will double the one billion dollar (£651 million) market in two or three years.
The goal is to get people to think of baby carrots as a "brand" they can get excited about. A website, www.babycarrots.com, features metal music and deep male voices chanting "Baby. Carrots. Extreme." On social networking site Twitter, the campaign's account suggests people eat them "like there's no tomorrow (maybe there won't be...)"
"This campaign is about turning baby carrots into a brand," said Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms, the US's top baby carrot producer with 50% of the market, and the most to gain if the market grows. "We're going to turn it into a very vital brand in the mind of consumers."
The campaign begins in Cincinnati and Syracuse, New York, and will take at least a year to go national.
But carrot eaters around the country will get a taste of baby carrots' attempt at attitude with Scarrots next month. The Halloween version of baby carrots will come in spooky packaging and have glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos, ideal for giving out to trick-or-treaters, Dunn said.
The marketing campaign is by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, known for its edgy advertising of Burger King and Old Navy.
Television ads depict futuristic scientists studying crunch, a woman lusting after carrots and carrot sports featuring a young man who launches off a snowy mountain top in a grocery cart and catches in his mouth a carrot shot by a gun below. Billboards will carry messages such as: "Our crunch can beat up your crunch", and carrot vending machines will appear in schools.
Stores will carry new packaging in crinkly, festive bags reminiscent of crisp bags with designs which mimic the ads. A bright green one depicts a hip red bunny wearing sunglasses, and dark, futuristic packaging with bright orange lines coming out of a carrot.
For now the campaign will begin gradually and focus on marketing. But Dunn, a former president of Coca-Cola North America, said new variations can be developed, such as ranch baby carrots with "ranch flavouring".