Dang nabbit, why did all these baby carrots expire in 2008?
As featured on NPR today, Ohio is at the forefront of today’s most innovative marketing for … baby carrots?
The carrot campaign has a strategy to get bags of baby carrots into teenagers’ hands easily via school vending machines. Mason High School [north of Cincinnati] is one of the first schools in the nation to try one out.
“Right now, it is a fad,” says student Caleb Warwick. He says suddenly carrots seem very popular. “It’s like: Oh my gosh, look carrots.”
It’s not as if kids have never seen baby carrots. But the combination of the new packaging, the branding and the ads seem to be making them more appealing.
“I think they’re cute,” student Ellen Thieken says.
And they even seem to taste better, she says. “I think they’re, like, more moist almost.”
Ugh. They’re “like” more moist, Ellen? Or are they just more moist?
A group dubbing itself “A Bunch of Carrot Farmers” (led by Bolthouse Farms in Bakersfield, California) has put together a $25 million marketing campaign promoting carrots as “extreme.” Think vapid Mountain Dew commercials but replace the Mountain Dew with carrots.
Actually, no need to think at all. Just watch.
Why Cincinnati? Cindy Kranz of the Cincinnati Enquirer asked just that of Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms.
“We wanted an average market so we could project to the rest of the United States,” said Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms. “Cincinnati and Syracuse [the other test market] have average carrot consumption.”
Why does that sound like a thinly veiled insult?
So how have Mason students reacted to the carrot machine so far?
“They responded right away,” said George Coates, assistant principal at the 3,200-student Mason High School. “I don’t think the carrots had been in there a full hour before students started buying some of them.”
A full hour!
Added Darlene Hicks, supervisor of food service management at Mason,
“We’ve been selling baby carrots in our cafeteria for years, but this machine is a way we can offer them 24 hours,” said Hicks. That’s unlike the other vending machines, which are turned off before students arrive and remain off until after school.
Hicks does not say why a Mason student would need (or want) a carrot fix at three in the morning, or what said student would do upon finding the school locked at such an hour, cruelly depriving him or her of much needed beta carotene, not to mention a rich supply of antioxidants and dietary fiber.
Ohio: We have carrot vending machines and forty-eight other states don’t!