First, Michelle Obama, standing with none other than Elmo and Rosita, (along with the Partnership for a Healthier America and the Produce Marketing Association) announced an exciting offer by Sesame Workshop to allow Sesame Street characters to be used in marketing fruits and veggies.
Then, Michael Moss, bestselling author of “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How The Food Giants Hooked Us,” published a provocative New York Times article called “Broccoli’s Extreme Makeover.”
In his story, Moss reports on his proactive investigation of what happens when really talented professional marketers wrap their heads around the challenge of increasing sales of a produce item like broccoli.
Moss’s premise is that health messages are “simply overwhelmed, in volume and effectiveness, by junk-food ads that often deploy celebrities or cartoon characters to great effect.”
He adds that despite “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 this unless they want to.”
One of the key takeaways from the broccoli makeover story is “health doesn’t sell.”
The article implies that the produce industry needs to focus its creative messaging efforts on something other than the health benefits of fruits and veggies if it wants people to buy and consume more.
At The Colors of Health, we believe this is not only wrong, it also creates the likelihood that the most powerful tool we have to increase produce consumption will be abandoned while we shift all our attention to “health-less” creative tactics, abdicating fruits’ and veggies’ rightful position as the healthiest foods on earth.
The fact is, health does sell. Just ask the industry groups behind blueberries, avocados, pomegranates kale, and nuts — like walnuts and almonds, to name a few.
The total pounds of annual production and per-capita consumption of these commodities have experienced tremendous growth over the past decade because of one principal element of their marketing strategy — their health story!