Advertisers want you to eat baby carrots like junk food

Remember the good ol’ days when baby carrots were just wholesome snacks, packed with nutrients?

Consider those days gone. That baby carrot you once knew and loved has copped an attitude. It’s roughed up its image, started hanging with a bad crowd, and I think it might have just given you the finger.

Yes, that’s right. Baby carrots are getting an image makeover, courtesy of advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The new “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food” campaign is intended to get people thinking of the delightfully crunchy treat as anything but healthy.

Instead of standard supermarket packaging (bo-ring!), stores will now carry carrots in crinkly, Doritos-style bags, complete with cartoonish designs and eye-catching colors.

“You didn’t need to talk about any of the health benefits. Everyone knows carrots are good for you,” said Crispin Porter + Bogusky vice president and group creative director, Tiffany Rolfe. “Our goal was to separate it from being a vegetable as much as possible, to create a new category for carrots.”

Great idea. Because the last thing we want to impart to our children is the desire or knowledge to nourish their bodies with vitamins and minerals. Gross!

In addition to repackaging, the campaign also includes a website that emphasizes how “extreme” baby carrots are, billboards with messages like “Our crunch can beat up your crunch,” and television ads that feature “a woman lusting after carrots.”

I think my head just actually exploded.

Okay, I get it. It’s parody. It’s funny! It’s campy! It’s making fun of all those silly, over-the-top snack ads that depict soda guzzlers and Cheeto chompers as X-Games-caliber athletes.

But isn’t this sort of a scary indication of how far down the dietary drain our society has gone? To make anything nutritious appear even remotely appetizing, we have to camouflage it as something naughty and forbidden.

And sure, kids (and adults) aren’t always eager to opt for virtuous snack options. But is the only way to up their healthy calorie intake to dress veggies up as junk food?

Call me crazy, but wouldn’t the ultimate goal be to make the insanely processed, sugar-laden, fat-loaded garbage on grocery shelves less appealing, instead of striving to make the good-for-you fare resemble it?

But even I know that’s ridiculous. You don’t put $25 million into a campaign aimed at enlightening the public or empowering them to make healthier choices! It’s way more profitable to pump that money into something super quirky and farcical that gets people to guffaw and hopefully empty their wallets for the shiny, new product.

Will the campaign succeed in getting Americans to eat healthier? Maybe. Or, thanks to its perpetuation of junk food-style binge behavior, we might just have a lot of orange-skinned extreme snack addicts.


— Michelle Konstantinovsky is a student at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and an avid admirer of shiny objects and preteen entertainment. It would be nice if you visited her website: www.michellekmedia.com. Also, she may learn to use Twitter more effectively if you follow her @michelley415.

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