$25 million to fool kids into eating baby carrots instead of Cheetos

Imagine the face on your child when he puts a buck into the snack machine, chooses what, by appearance, seems to be a Cheetos-like snack, and ends up with a bag of baby carrots. The carrot industry is betting $25 million that he'll be OK with the substitution. I have my doubts.

According to USA Today, a group of producers will unveil a sophisticated media campaign designed to drive a wedge between the munching public and our snack foods, a wedge in the shape of a carrot. This campaign will include repackaging carrots for school vending machines in bags that resemble Doritos (both orange, little-finger size, crunchy, so consumers probably won't even notice the difference, right?)

Expect to see TV ads, seasonal tie-ins, billboards and even phone apps starring the perky baby carrot. The agency handling the campaign, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, is responsible for the quirky Burger King ads, so we can anticipate some highly original pitches.

Certainly the country would be better off if we were to choose less fattening snacks, but we didn't become a nation of wide-bodies for no reason; Cheetos provide an immediate gratification of salty, sweet, cheesy goodness that is hard to put aside for a snappy little carrot.

I don't question the ability of marketers to make appealing something we long thought mundane, but this is a big job even for Madison Avenue.
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