your-news image
California-based Wm. Bolthouse Farms Inc. has joined forces with dozens of other growers and a well-known advertising agency to promote baby carrots as a snack food with a $25 million marketing effort.

The cutting-edge campaign will use a multitude of marketing strategies including Twitter and Facebook, and non-traditional produce packaging to position the product as a snack-food alternative. The packaging will be similar to what is typically used for chip products such as Doritos. In addition, a new web site has been launched (www.babycarotts.com) that features bold graphics and messages including the tag line, "Baby Carrots Eat 'Em Like Junk Food."

To launch this campaign, Bolthouse and its grower partners have hired Crispin Porter + Bogusky, a Boulder, CO-based advertising agency with proven success in high-tech marketing. It is the firm that handled Burger King's “Subservient Chicken” campaign as well as Microsoft Windows’ “I’m a PC” campaign. Both of those campaigns were considered very creative and very effective.

Bryan Reese, chief marketing officer for Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield, CA, told The Produce News via e-mail that the initial launch began the week of Aug. 30 in Cincinnati; Syracuse, NY; and San Antonio, TX. The push will run through the end of the November. “Media touch-points include billboards, television, web site (babycarrots.com), mobile game (Xtreme Xrunch Kart), Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, in-store point-of-sale and in-store radio at Kroger,” he said. “The intent is to move forward with a national rollout later this fall-winter.”

He added, “While the primary goal of the campaign is to increase carrot consumption, we’re also repositioning baby carrots. Everybody knows that baby carrots are a healthy snack, but with all the marketing behind junk-food brands, carrots didn’t stand a chance. So we decided it would be better to ‘join them’ and present carrots in a whole new — yet very viable — way. After all, baby carrots are pop-able, dip-able, crunchy and delicious — the original orange doodles,” Mr. Reese said using one of the taglines for the campaign.

“The advertising is meant to be tongue and cheek and to get more people snacking on healthy carrots,” he said. “To that end, we’re targeting consumers seeking healthier snack-food alternatives.”

The campaign’s web site lists close to four-dozen carrot growers as being involved in the effort. Mr. Reese said that the campaign is being conducted by “A Bunch of Carrot Farmers,” which is a recently launched alliance of carrot farmers and producers focused on promoting the growth of the carrot category in the United States. He said that the group is being led by Bolthouse Farms, one of the leading grower-producers of carrots in North America. Today, there are more than 45 individual grower-farmers involved in the alliance, and, he predicted, “More will surely join as we go through the fall.”

While the baby carrot snack campaign is aimed at consumers, Mr. Reese said that Bolthouse’s retail partners are heavily involved in the process. Major retailers in each of the three initial markets are currently involved, according to the Bolthouse executive. In Cincinnati, the retailers participating are Walmart, Kroger and Meijer. In Syracuse, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Aldi and Walmart are featuring the new concept. In the San Antonio-Austin, TX, market, H.E. Butt Grocery Co. is selling the product.

Mr. Reese said that the current promotional packages will be available only for a short time and then will be replaced by theme packaging as the year goes on. “In October, there will be new packaging for Halloween called Scarrots. Scarrots are baby carrots packed in small bags perfect for Halloween. Packed in a larger bag containing 25 individual-wrapped baby carrot bags, Scarrots also come with glow-in-the-dark [temporary] tattoos,” Mr. Reese said. Consumers not living in marketing areas handling the promotional bags are encouraged to go to babycarrots.com and print a package graphic to put on their own carrot bag at home.

As the campaign unfolds, he said that there are plans to sell the bags in school vending machines.

In a national newspaper story in USA Today, Bolthouse Farms Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dunn was quoted as saying that the campaign is “not an anti- junk-food campaign. It takes a page out of junk food’s playbook and applies it to baby carrots.”