Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced a new promotional effort designed to encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables among children. She said that if big food companies “are going to pour money into marketing unhealthy foods, then let’s fight back with ads for healthy foods.”
A campaign using celebrities and dubbed “FNV” (fruits and vegetables) has been launched. Essentially, the idea is to employ the same tactics used by the purveyors of processed foods.
But will it work? Arun Gupta (TeleSUR:isn’t so sure. This opinion piece appears in
While some marketing pixie dust may rub off on apples and broccoli, the campaign is completely outgunned. It has a US$5 million budget. The baby-carrot campaign had a $25 million war chest. In comparison, McDonald’s alone spent $972 million in U.S.-based advertising in 2012. Overall, food companies spend an estimated $10 billion annually to market to American youth, and the vast majority of that is for junk food.
Fresh produce can never come close to narrowing the marketing gap, and the reasons for this reveal why a junk-food style campaign will not only fail to foster good eating habits, it may backfire by encouraging unhealthy trends.