Cans of beans marketed to kids
Actually the yellow guy was kinda big on the label.

Brand Synergy + Kids = Vegetables

With four kids, we try to maintain a relationship with each child individually, and since the middle two are twins (and innocently referred to by friends and family as a single entity), this is especially important.

We’ve got some kind of cranial queue going on, keeping track of which one went with who, and where. Even menial errands are seen as important one-on-one time with a parent in their eyes.

So I take Thing #1 (the first twin), Frank, to the grocery store a while back to pick up a few things.

Walking down the canned vegetable aisle, Frank yells…”SpongeBob”, and I notice a can of beans…a national brand…with the little yellow character peeking out from the photo mask of the beans on the label.

Cans of beans marketed to kids

Actually the yellow guy was kinda big on the label.

“Frank. You want some beans with dinner tonight?”

“YEAH!”

Done. He not only wanted to eat them. But hold the can through the store.

You see, there’s some tipping point, where your kids go from eating blended vegetables to wanting only snacks, candy, soda, crap. I don’t know where that point is, but my youngest is only one, so there’s hope for me to find out yet.

This chart shows a decline in vegetable intake once kids are introduced to fast-food

I have an idea as to why they stopped eating vegetables...

Oh, so…damn marketers. Wait. That’s me.

And that’s good.

Using my what-you-see-is-not-always-what-you-get ad skills, I started turning every can, box, bundle, bushel and steam in the bag vegetable container into brand synergistic wonder veggies.

And they ate.

Here’s what you need:

  • Some stickers of cartoon characters or whatever—found in the dollar store or dollar aisle
  • Something sharp to cut them if you really want seamless brand integration
  • A vessel of your desired vegetable serving for dinner

Step One
Choose a sticker that appeals to your target demographic.

Step Two
Peel the sticker and apply to container of vegetables. You can get crafty here and cut the sticker with an x-acto knife or some scissors to follow a design trait of the container, masking the fact it was applied post-purchase. See? Seamless.

Step Three
Provide your focus group with two choices for dinner: “Princess Broccoli or Star Wars Asparagus”.

Step Four
Heat and serve.

A can of corn with an image of a pirate cat on it.

Pirate Kitty Corn Anyone?

“But that’s a lot of stickers and stuff…” you say?

Ha. Bait and switch, my friend. Bait and switch. Advertising 101.

Show them the can, bag or bundle with the sticker, then actually cook the non-brand-ified version—just rotate your stock every once in a while.

So now I’ll try to see if it works on taking out the garbage.

8 Comments

  • Sharon

    Smart thinking, ad guy! I’ll make a mental note for when I have my own Things someday.

    Reply

  • Marty

    Thanks Sharon! I often find they are much smarter than me, so I’m not sure how long this will last…Ha!

    Reply

  • Jourdan Hathaway

    Great idea! If someone branded my vacuum cleaner or dishwasher with Cindy Crawford, I’d totally be tricked into wanting to use those. Oh wait, did I already succumb to that by looking at the Crawford Collection at Rooms to Go? Darn marketers.

    Reply

  • Pete Fazio

    When Marty described this to me on the phone I was laughing at just how simple it was. It reminds me a little of my ploys when I need to usher my daughter out of the museum: As soon as any kind of page comes over the loud speaker you distract her and say “OH NO… Did you hear that? They are closing in 5 minutes and we have to leave or be locked in all night, bummer.”

    Reply

  • Barbie Hawkins

    Do you think kids would like cartoons if the characters were the Jolly Green Giant instead of putting Sponge Bob on the same can? I have not seen these cans but I do think it’s a great way to excite kids about good foods. Another way to get kids into veggies is grow them at home and watch the process. Great blog, Marty!

    Reply

    • Marty

      Barbie, thanks for checking us out! And you’re right, gardening is a great way…we’ve got some raised planting beds and the kids love to plant the veggies and pick them. Eating them is still a chore sometimes, but the twins actually are in a salad mode right now, so the stuff from our garden is good for that.

      Reply

  • Heather

    This is hilarious. I wish it worked on 13-month-old kids, because ours has started rejecting vegetables on appearance alone. She’ll eat ANYTHING if it’s pureed, but veggies as finger foods? Not flying. I didn’t think it would be a problem this early in life!

    Reply

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