Mmm…Junk Veggies. Just Like Mom Used to Make.

Credit: Brett ForsythIt is strange that the carrot industry has come to this, but the new carrot promotional machine showcases some clever marketing that is documented by USA Today. “A Bunch of Carrot Farmers,” a group associated with Bolthouse Farms, has paid some good money to Crispin Porter + Bogusky to tart up their carrots. Along with shiny new “junk food packaging”, the campaign features very self-aware 30 second ads, and a Flash-heavy website that not only promotes the product, but makes fun of carrots’ junk food counterparts.

The ads seem to show that their creators were aware of the cheesiness of hackneyed snack ads, but the carrot ads are simultaneously mocking and manipulative. One minute they seem to ask “don’t you agree that typical ads are silly?” but proceed to push their own products and coerce the consumer by rejecting mainstream ad culture. Some people are pretty outraged by this, including Robin Elton of Simple. Green. Organic. Happy. Though the ads aim to be a cheeky mockery of the junk food industry, some claim that they are not. Jeff Dunn, the CEO of Bolthouse Farms even admits that the ads are just “taking a page out of junk food’s play book”.

So now the veggie farmers are manipulating children into buying snacks by selling them in public school vending machines. This product placement is worrying parents, which is reasonable, but I’m wondering why they would not be more concerned with the cheesy poofs and cooler-sour-ranchy-onion flavored offerings that have already infiltrated the schools and their children’s arteries. Are baby cut carrots, though soaked in a chlorine wash, not a better alternative than fluorescent corn chips? Perhaps we all just wish there were a lesser of two evils in the snack food world.

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