Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An impossible observation #143

Jeff Dunn was a top-executive at Coca Cola (at one point angling for the CEO-spot) who moved into the carrot business. In a fun Fast Company article on “marketing baby carrots as snack food” we get this little tidbit:

Bolthouse had never marketed its baby carrots. It just sent truckloads to supermarkets, where they got piled up in the produce aisle. Dunn assembled a small team and studied advertising campaigns for other agricultural commodities, such as almonds, avocados, eggs, and milk. They were shocked at what they found. “Every campaign paid back,” Dunn says. “Every single one. Between 2 and 10 times.”

My guess is that if you’d presented this to economists in a seminar they would have shot you down and disbelieved it. After all, this would be tantamount to money lying around on the ground, so if it was true everyone would have acted on it. Since they haven’t, it isn’t. As it is, however, Dunn trusted the study and moved to advertise baby carrots.

[The ad-company] Crispin's campaign, "Eat 'Em Like Junk Food," debuted last September in two test markets: Syracuse, New York, and Cincinnati. (There are plans to expand the campaign to other markets by this fall.) […]

By November, sales in Bolthouse's test markets were up 10% to 12% over the year before, compared to minimal improvement or slight decline in a control group. The vending machines were selling 80 to 90 snack packs per week; a number of schools have approached the company about installing their own machines, and Bolthouse is investigating what it would take to scale vending into a real business.

Though it’s irrelevant to the point, the ads are kinda fun in their surreal, self-consciously meta, “creative” and “off-the-wall” way: