CAMPAIGNS: Wacky veg gets the kids’ vote - Cause-related Marketing

The relationship between the Cancer Research Campaign and the food chain Iceland dates from January 1996 when the CRC noticed from its research that many UK children were not eating their reccommended five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. They launched a three-year joint campaign called ’Eat smarter, eat more vegetables’, which was kick-started by Gary Lineker.

The relationship between the Cancer Research Campaign and the food

chain Iceland dates from January 1996 when the CRC noticed from its

research that many UK children were not eating their reccommended five

portions of fruit or vegetables a day. They launched a three-year joint

campaign called ’Eat smarter, eat more vegetables’, which was

kick-started by Gary Lineker.



But to give more impetus to the second year of the campaign, CRC

director general Professor Gordon McVie devised a way of making

vegetables more palatable to children by disguising the real taste with

foods which children do like to eat.



Objectives



To launch the range of flavoured vegetables with child-appeal, raise the

awareness among families with children and increase Iceland’s frozen

vegetable sales.



Tactics



Before the product was launched, taste tests with parents and kids were

carried out in Wales and the north-west of England. Rejected flavours

included bubble gum-flavoured broccoli and toffee apple-flavoured

sweetcorn.



The winners included pizza-flavoured sweetcorn and chocolate-flavoured

carrots.



One week before the launch, the CRC/Iceland PR team was worried about

the project leaking when the Sunday Times published an article about

genetically-engineered vegetables. The media went to Iceland for comment

but the PR team managed to keep the journalists at bay for another week.

The products were launched nationwide at a press conference on 21 April

and vouchers were given to journalists on the premise that the free

samples would be used for trials on children as part of the

coverage.



The campaign was intended to focus on children but Iceland was conscious

that adult reactions in the media might be critical.



Results



There have been 250 cuttings and 50 radio and 35 TV clips to date across

regional, national and international media, which mainly focused on

taste tests with children.



Not all coverage was positive, however. In the Times, two top chefs said

the flavoured vegetables were revolting. There was an outcry from

nutritionists, saying that parents should persevere with conventional

foods, but CRC/Iceland defended their product with research showing that

working class mothers in Scotland, the North and South East had given up

force feeding vegetables to their kids.



Iceland estimates that sales of frozen vegetables have risen by around

ten per cent and that the most successful flavoured vegetable was the

one the media latched on to - the chocolate-flavoured carrots.



The campaign has raised pounds 200,000 for the CRC to date .



Verdict



Novelty vegetables may not solve the problem for parents worldwide.

However, the launch campaign got across the message that if children eat

more vegetables there is less chance of developing cancer in later life.

And on the basis of CRC’s research, David Blunkett MP has announced a

’back to basics’ campaign for school dinners.



Client: Iceland/Cancer Research Campaign

PR Team: Iceland/Cancer Research Campaign in-house PR departments

Campaign: Wacky Veg

Timescale: March 1997 - ongoing

Cost: pounds 4,000



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