Can Carrots Ever Hope To Be Doritos?

For the longest time I resisted Twitter.  What could anyone possibly have to say in a mere 140 characters that would be of any interest to me?  Well as it turns out, quite a bit!  While I’m too long-winded to tweet myself, I’m enjoying being a Twitter voyeur.  And a week or so ago, it paid off with the idea for this blog.

The tweet was from @NameFlash and it included a link to an article about the efforts of Bolthouse Farms to market packs of baby carrots as a cool snack food to the skater-dude crowd.  Their strategy entailed modeling their marketing tactics after popular teen snack brands like Doritos to increase the cool quotient of carrots.

What a brilliant marketing idea, I thought!

Never mind that Bolthouse is best known in Canada for the botulism scare of 2006.  This could actually work to their advantage in attracting danger-seeking, teens eager to live on the edge.

Dairy Farmers of Ontario followed a similar strategy years ago when they launched their Milk Rap.  Maybe it’s the catchy tune, or maybe it’s those sexy Sudbury dinner jackets, but I love this ad!

Looking back, it’s probably an example of an adult’s idea of what kids will like, but in the years since this ad was first aired the Dairy Farmers of Canada have been working to slowly reposition milk from a plain, boring beverage that your Mom makes you drink, to something that teens will select by choice.  The other day I spotted a high school student in my favourite Esso station drinking strawberry milk from a shapely bottles with bold graphics, while his friends waited in line at the Tim Horton’s kiosk.  I hate to imply that kids are shallow but I have to think he would have been less likely to choose it over the Gatorade merchandised nearby if milk was still sold in old style, so-square cartons.

I’ll admit that while I admire the marketing genius, I find the current onslaught of 5 second milk ads really annoying, which is a sure sign that they will resonate with teens.

There are HUNDREDS of these ads!  The agency has got to be making a fortune.

In addition to the ads, milk is hooking up with existing teen culture by partnering with the Much Music Video Awards (MMVA) and has launched a fascinating website called .  Before I started digging into milk marketing for this blog I had never heard of this campaign, which tells me just how tightly focused they’ve been in reaching the teen target.

Check out this cool ‘Crowd Periscope’ handed out to fans during events leading up to the MMVA!

I wish I could tell you that this campaign is resulting in a huge lift in milk consumption but unfortunately, according to the government of Canada figures from 2009, it’s been pretty flat (-2% since 2005).  Canada sits at a steady 81.3 litres per captia, just slightly above the U.S. at 79.4, and far behind Ireland where the figure is a whopping 135.9.  The best I could find in terms of results was a quote in Marketing Magazine from Karen
Howe, senior vice-president, creative director for the Dairy Farmers’ agency, Due North Communications:

“One of the toughest things in the world is to keep teens drinking milk, but the overall trend for the past several years has been solid,” said Howe. “Teens get to a certain age
and the consumption drops right off, but what we’ve seen with the campaign over the past several years is that it has made milk cool for kids.”

Hmmm.  She doesn’t say teens are drinking more milk; just that milk is now cool.  Still, that’s got to be a step in the right direction and maybe consumption will turn around in the 2010/11 figures.

Getting my kids to eat healthy food isn’t an issue.  I’m grateful that they love milk, eat broccoli and don’t turn their noses up at the occasional vegetarian dinner.  But I could use some repositioning work on household chores.  Maybe I should come up with a ‘Make your bed!’ rap?  A little ditty, à la Black Eyed Peas perhaps?

 Put your hands in… To the sheets, yeah… Pull it ti-dy… To the beat, yeah

 Then again, maybe not.


Here’s the article that inspired this blog.  Thanks @NameFlash!