Who knew baby carrots were so cool? I didn't until watching Bryan Reese's session at ANA Masters of Marketing. Reese, Bolthouse Farm's Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, took us on a carrot journey, where carrot farmers came together to transform the carrot from a veggie to a go-to munchie.
Here's what he shared:
The Problem: Consumers were telling Bolthouse Farms they love carrots. But it didn't match the numbers. Consumers are eating more and wanting healthier snacks but they weren't choosing baby carrots as their go-to option.
The Cause: As Bolthouse Farms dug deeper into user behaviors they found customers were buying bigger carrots or sticking their carrots into what Reese referred to as "The Drawer of Death." Snacking behavior shows consumers first go to the pantry, then to the refrigerator. Carrots are usually in the bottom drawer where they are unseen and forgotten. Carrots were being beaten as the preferred snack by chips, cookies, and healthy snack options like granola bars.
The Solution: Reese and his team realized to get back in the munchie game, they needed to change the perception of baby carrots. Carrots need to be thought of as a snack not a vegetable. Baby carrots had to get cool. So what next?
- They hired a world-class advertising agency.
- They established a carrot growers' marketing board. They made a very difficult decision to take their name off the campaign and make a bigger impact by partnering with the entire carrot growers community.
- They launched a major integrated marketing effort starting in the store and working across every channel beyond that including packaging, site merchandising, in-store displays, outdoor media, tv, digital, social, local guerilla events, PR, and more.
The campaign was engaging, funny, and captivated audiences. Some featured engagements include a video game and website only creative content. The average time a user spent on the campaign site was more than 9 minutes. Check it out for yourself: www.babycarrots.com
These own channels that provided engaging content, gained more than 585 million publicity impressions. Content began to be shared and ultimately go viral. It was even featured in a question on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and Bolthouse Farms didn't know it was happening. The sharing of baby carrots took on a life of its own showing testament to the value of earned media.
All the paid, earned, and owned media culminated to drive double digit growth in just one year. Now, Reese and his team are methodically planning how to expand the campaign, after all, they did just launch this to 1% of their audience. This is just the beginning for baby carrots.
As marketers, you can do this to. Reese shared his learnings so that we can apply these to our own marketing campaigns:
- Emotionally connect with your consumers.
- Add value in everything you do.
- Publicity value is huge. Don't underestimate it. Use it.
- Find a unique marketing element and then drive that tactic.
Now make Reese proud and rescue your carrots from the “drawer of death.”
Kaila Wyman Lightner, Audience Marketing Manager