What comes to mind upon hearing the term school vending machine? If you're like us, you immediately conjure up images of junk food: Funions. Creme-filled Oreos. M&Ms and a plethora of other high-fat, sodium-laden snacks that are not only bad for you, but especially bad for your children. Bolthouse Farms — one of the largest U.S. growers of baby carrots — and more than 50 other baby carrot producers are trying to change all that, starting by packing vending machines in Cinncinati, OH and Syracuse, NY schools full of bags of baby carrots.
The health-conscious move is part of a national marketing campaign sponsored by baby carrot farmers to test the hypothesis that kids will eat healthier food if it's advertised (and packaged) similarly to, say, Doritos. USA Today reports that in addition to cool new packaging, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the Miami-based advertising agency perhaps known best for creating Burger King's SubservientChicken.com, has created TV spots that promote “baby carrots as extreme, futuristic and sexy.” Yes, you read right; eating baby carrots is sexy. And no doubt healthier than Cheetos and Doritos, the vegetable's junk food rivals. Need more proof? Check out a YouTube clip of one of the commercials below:
While the moniker “baby” carrots is misleading — the carrots are actually made from pieces of blemished or otherwise rejected regular-sized carrots — the real question is: have the bags, priced at 50 cents each, attracted any attention from the Ohio and New York school children in question? According to George Coates, assistant principle of the Cinncinati-based school, the answer is yes. “It hadn't been an hour after they filled the machines, that we had students coming in and purchasing baby carrots,” Coates told the Middletown Journal. Even more, the school's teachers have incorporated the vending machines into the curriculum, asking students to brainstorm additional marketing campaigns to stimulate carrot sales.