When Sesame Street rules the produce aisle - The Packer

When Sesame Street rules the produce aisle

05/02/2014 10:02:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

Chuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefChuck Robinson, Assistant Copy ChiefThe shaggy costumes for workers in the produce department was sheer brilliance.

I hadn’t been shopping for a while, I guess, so all the changes they had made in support of the Eat Brighter! campaign made quite an impression on me.

I couldn’t ID which “Sesame Street” characters the workers were portraying as they went about their stocking duties, but they looked like bright orange and red shaggy puppets wearing aprons to protect the costumes.

Per the agreement the Produce Marketing Association worked out with Sesame Workshop to use “Sesame Street” characters to promote fresh produce, the costumed workers could not talk.

They were adept, however, at pantomine and also at keeping their eyes focused on their work and discouraging consumers to engage them. They were pros.

The packages were amazing too. I know Elmo, of course, from the Tickle Me Elmo craze from a few years back. Him and Cookie Monster, I know, but all the packages had one of them or the “gay” Muppet couple or the puppet Count Chocula on them.

Isn’t he on cereal too?

Every package had at least one of the characters on it, some of them more than one. It was a nicely uniform.

Abby Cadabby was on several packages too, and cleverly it was decided that Muppet characters would not be restricted to any certain commodity. I was surprised at home that a package I thought was brussels sprouts turned out to be kohlrabi.

Both are brassicas, so it’s all good.

Me with my aging eyesight, I might get confused by characters on all the packages and lose track of some of the produce items I am picking up.

Lucky for me that it wasn’t a package of durian, though maybe if I keep trying it I will learn to like durian, especially with a Muppet character on it.

The good side of having all the packages look the same with the same mix of characters on them is that I wasn’t distracted by brand names as much as before.

Sometimes I stand in the produce aisle with a stony look trying to remember which brand I prefer. Now they are all “Sesame Street” branded, and I don’t have to fret about what I am going to get. The individual brands are obscured.

One more worry off my plate, thank you.

And who doesn’t want a category to become a commodity where it doesn’t matter who supplied it? That is a lot of hassle taken out of the process for the retailer, and the suppliers can focus on cutting costs and less on top quality.

Really, feeding people is not that much different from slopping hogs, so why get hung up on brands and related issues?

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