I read with interest and amusement the several press accounts talking about the creation of a “pretend” marketing campaign for broccoli. If you haven’t kept up with the coverage, here is the initial coverage in The New York Times Magazine about “Broccoli’s extreme makeover," authored by Michael Moss, a reporter for The Times and the author of ‘‘Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.’’
I need to read that book, I am told.
The long article is interesting, framing the story of how the reporter asked the ad agency Victors & Spoils to create a campaign for broccoli that would grab the attention of consumers.
In the end, the agency came up with provocative ads like “What came first, kale or the bandwagon?” or “Broccoli: now 43% less pretentious than kale” or “Since when do super foods have to be super trendy?” or “Eat fad free: broccoli v. kale.”
A Q and A with the author took a closer look at the genesis for the unconventional feature story.
A New York Times video called “Creating the broccoli craze” looks at the creative process of the agency in devising a fictional campaign.
In the initial coverage from the NYT Magazine piece comes this observation about why the marketing team targeted kale - a trendy produce item with a 24k golden halo - instead of potato chips or pop. From the story:
Picking on kale — rather than on, say, French fries — was especially brilliant because it mimicked the Great Soda War between Pepsi and Coca-Cola, an entirely bloodless battle that greatly enhanced the bottom lines of both companies. While consumers assumed Coke and Pepsi were in some sort of zero-sum game, the marketing reality was that the idea of a soda war, and the ads created to perpetuate it, brought many more consumers to both companies.