1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Baby carrots
AP
Baby carrot farmers are launching a campaign that pitches the little, orange, crunchy snacks as daring, fun and naughty — just like junk food.
By
updated 9/2/2010 12:41:24 PM ET 2010-09-02T16:41:24

Baby carrot farmers are launching a campaign that pitches the little, orange, crunchy snacks as daring, fun and naughty — just like junk food.

A group of 50 producers hopes the 'Eat 'Em Like Junk Food' effort starting next week will double the $1 billion market in two or three years.

The goal is to get people to think of baby carrots as a brand they can get excited about — not just a plain, old vegetable. A website, www.babycarrots.com, features metal music and deep male voices chanting "Baby. Carrots. Extreme." On social networking site Twitter, the campaign's account suggests people eat them "like there's no tomorrow (maybe there won't be...)"

  1. More must-see stories
    1. Wild Wall St.
      The Hartford Courant, Political

      Has the market volatility got you nervous? These cartoons may give you a little comic relief.

    2. Cyber-thieves create fake Kelley Blue Book site
    3. US says Reebok toning shoes don't really
    4. Can you live on $9 an hour? Play the game

"This campaign is about turning baby carrots into a brand," said Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms, the nation's top baby carrot producer with 50 percent of the market, and the most to gain if the market grows. "We think ultimately long-term here we're going to turn it into a very vital brand in the mind of consumers."

The plan begins in Cincinnati and Syracuse, N.Y., and will take at least a year to go national.

But carrot eaters around the country will get a taste of baby carrots' attempt at attitude with Scarrots next month. The Halloween version of baby carrots will come in spooky packaging and have glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos, ideal for giving out to trick-or-treaters, Dunn said.

The marketing campaign by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, known for its edgy advertising of Burger King and Old Navy, will cost about $25 million.

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. At Home with TODAY: Sheinelle Jones is inviting you for the holidays

      Sheinelle Jones may be the newest kid on the TODAY block, but she’s already inviting you over for the holidays. As part of...

    2. Grab these secrets for 5 instant party appetizers
    3. 7 secrets of stylish travelers: Hint! leave the sweats at home
    4. Watch this boy realize Santa is actually his Air Force dad
    5. From iPads to Fitbits: How to set up your holiday tech gifts

Television ads depict futuristic scientists studying crunch, a woman lusting after carrots and carrot sports featuring a young man who launches off a snowy mountain top in a grocery cart and catches in his mouth a carrot shot by a gun below. There are also billboards with messages like "Our crunch can beat up your crunch" and carrot vending machines in schools.

Stores will carry new packaging in crinkly, festive bags reminiscent of chip bags with designs that mimic the ads. There's a bright green one with a hip red bunny wearing sunglasses, and dark, futuristic packaging with bright orange lines coming out of a carrot.

The carrot group and its agency studied other campaigns — such as the "Drink Milk" effort" — and decided to push further with baby carrots, beyond marketing the benefits of the vegetables.

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

Story: Acai berry scam: You'll lose money, not weight

Sales of baby carrots — which are, in fact, not babies at all but rather small, peeled carrot shapes cut from larger ones — have fallen in the mid-single digits in the past two years as people spend less in the down economy, Dunn said. That includes buying bigger carrots and cutting them up themselves to save money.

Baby carrots were introduced in the mid- to late 1980s, created for their convenience of being an easy snack. Sales grew quickly in the first 10 to 15 years, but the growth tapered off, Dunn said.

For now the campaign will roll out gradually and focus on marketing. But Dunn, a former president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola North America, said new variations could be developed, including baby carrots with ranch flavoring.

"How high is up?" he said of the market's potential. "That's the real question, what's possible here? We put it out there, and we'll learn and evolve."

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: New baby carrot campaign mimics junk food

loading photos...
  1. Baby carrot farmers are launching a campaign that pitches the little, orange, crunchy snacks as daring, fun and naughty — just like junk food. (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. The marketing campaign by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, known for its edgy advertising of Burger King and Old Navy, will cost about $25 million. (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. This image from the advertising campaign shows futuristic-looking scientists running a sadistic experiment to prove baby carrots are the ‘future of crunch.’ (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. In this ad, an ‘Extreme Baby Carrot Dude’ catches air in his rocket-powered grocery kart as baby carrots are fired at him with a baby carrot launcher. (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. ‘Extreme Baby Carrot Dude’ faces a barrage of baby carrots. (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A model holding a baby carrot will be featured in the advertising campaign. (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Organizers of the marketing campaign say their goal is to separate carrots ‘from being a vegetable as much as possible, to create a new category for carrots.’ (Crispin Porter + Bogusky via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Vote: What do you think of the marketing campaign rebranding carrots as junk food?

Video: Which veggies pack the most health power?

  1. Transcript of: Which veggies pack the most health power?

    MATT LAUER, co-host: This morning on HEALTHIER LIVING TODAY , eating your vegetables . Your mother was right, studies show they are essential to a healthy diet . But Americans still eat less than 60 percent of the recommended daily amount. Joy Bauer is a nutritionist and of course a TODAY contributor. Joy, good to see you. Good morning.

    Ms. JOY BAUER: Good morning, Matt.

    LAUER: Why are so few Americans eating their veggies?

    Ms. BAUER: I don't know, they're delicious. And the thing with vegetables , why they're so important is they're packed with nutrients that deliver the vitamins and minerals that allow our body to thrive. They -- they've also got fiber and we know that fiber keeps us full, it pulls down cholesterol, it stabilizes blood sugar levels and vegetables are awesome when it comes to weight management.

    LAUER: When we're -- when we're talking about how much the average person should eat on the average day, it may sound like a lot, but it's really not that much. What are we talking?

    Ms. BAUER: At least two to three cups. So these things are all portioned out at one cup, a cup of carrots, a cup of peppers, broccoli. Leafy greens because they're puffier, you would want two cups to equal that one cup. And these are non-starchy vegetables , so the more the better.

    LAUER: OK. Starchy vegetables ?

    Ms. BAUER: An ear of corn is equivalent to one cup.

    LAUER: You OK?

    Ms. BAUER: Sorry. Too many vegetables this morning.

    LAUER: That's all right.

    Ms. BAUER: A cup of peas or a medium white or sweet potato .

    LAUER: OK.

    Ms. BAUER: So there's a lot of choices.

    LAUER: Working it into your day, you've got a sample of kind of what could be an average day.

    Ms. BAUER: Right. And without a salad we're going to do this. We're going to start with lunch because a lot of people don't like to have vegetables with breakfast. A cup of soup and piling on lettuce and tomato on a -- on a sandwich. That's one cup serving of vegetables . As a snack, you could have some baby carrots and hummus, another cup of vegetables . And then for dinner, if you have some veggies on the side and a potato, again, we just nailed more than three cups of vegetables .

    LAUER: So you're over, really, what you should do and that's...

    Ms. BAUER: Yeah. Without a salad.

    LAUER: ...and all perfectly healthy. Let's talk about your superstars, all right?

    Ms. BAUER: OK.

    LAUER: Let's go around to this side. First of all, you love spinach and kale.

    Ms. BAUER: Right. So that's going to be my number one pick because of the deep green color. It's got a lot of beta carotene and vitamin C and fiber.

    LAUER: Right.

    Ms. BAUER: But what it also has as an interesting twist is iron, which you don't find a lot in vegetables . And it's very versatile, one of my favorite things to do with it is saute it up in a pan, a little bit of olive oil and then finish it off with some rich sweet balsamic vinegar.

    LAUER: All right. So when it -- when it comes to spinach, cooked or uncooked, doesn't matter, you still get the same nutritional value?

    Ms. BAUER: It's a great question. You'll lose some of the vitamin content when you cook vegetables , but you also gain others, they become more bioavailable when it's cooked. So the bottom line is raw, cooked, the more the merrier .

    LAUER: OK.

    Ms. BAUER: Just mix it up.

    LAUER: You want people to get some bell peppers in their diet. Why are these so good for you?

    Ms. BAUER: Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C. One red bell pepper has more than twice the amount of vitamin C compared to an orange. And you can toss them into stir-fries, into omelets. You can use them as scoopers for chicken salad or egg salad or cottage cheese.

    LAUER: People love potatoes, you say go with the sweet potato , much better for you.

    Ms. BAUER: I'm not against white potatoes , but this deep rich orange color in sweet potatoes is a giveaway, this one's the winner. And it's got a slew of great ingredients.

    LAUER: Broccoli and brussels sprouts . I happen to love both of these. A lot of kids don't love them.

    Ms. BAUER: Well, broccoli's great, you could top it on pizza.

    LAUER: Right.

    Ms. BAUER: And the nice part about both broccoli and brussels sprouts is it's in the cruciferous family, which means it has a compound that may in fact help to reduce certain types of cancers. So this is well worth your while. And what I tell my kids, these are little cabbages or green brains.

    LAUER: Hm.

    LAUER: OK. Does that actually work?

    Ms. BAUER: It does.

    LAUER: Real quickly...

    Ms. BAUER: And....

    LAUER: I love, like, vegetable juices like the V8 , does that help me get my daily allowance?

    Ms. BAUER: It does. One cup of vegetable juice will count towards your vegetable quota. But when you're buying commercial vegetable juice , check the sodium, you want to look for lower sodium options because some of them are sky-high.

    LAUER: Super information. Joy, thanks very much.

More on TODAY.com

  1. AFP-Getty Images

    Here comes another royal baby!

    12/19/2014 7:30:30 PM +00:00 2014-12-19T19:30:30
  1. Samantha Okazaki / TODAY

    At Home with TODAY: Sheinelle Jones is inviting you for the holidays

    12/19/2014 4:57:16 PM +00:00 2014-12-19T16:57:16
  1. Obama: Sony made a mistake in canceling ‘Interview’ release

    President Barack Obama said Friday that Sony Pictures Entertainment "made a mistake" by nixing the release of a comedic film after the company was hacked and received cyber threats.

    12/19/2014 7:35:43 PM +00:00 2014-12-19T19:35:43