Friday, November 1, 2013

Will Big Bird be able to convince kids to eat their veggies?

In support of First Lady Michele Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative, the Sesame Street Workshop agreed to waive its licensing fees for two years and allow its characters to be used for in-store signage and labels on fruit and produce items, as part of a partnership with the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA).  (Lukovitz, 2013)

The most recent successful effort targeting children was the Bird’s Eye’s Gen Veg campaign, also in partnership with the PHA, which featured a tie-in with iCarly and an invitation for kids to create their own veggie combinations.  The result?  A two-month increase in sales while the campaign ran and plans to continue the effort for two more years with a budget of $4 million.  In addition to new advertising, the program will also include the introduction of new products based on the recipes submitted by the kids.  (Wayne, 2013)

Here’s the blog I wrote about that effort.

But, back to Big Bird and his pals.  What do you think?  Will this partnership be a success as well?

Lukovitz, K. (2013, October 31)  Sesame Workshop To Help Market Fruit, Veggies To Kids.  Retrieved October 31, 2013, from

Wayne, A. (2013, March 7)  Birds Eye Vegetable Sales Mark Progress in Obesity Fight.  Retrieved October 31, 2013, from


  1. I think using Big Bird is a great idea! Many young children watch Sesame Street, which is associated with education, friendship, and social etiquette. Partnering with PMA and PHA will allow more exposure to the youth about healthy eating habits and food choices. While kids do not purchase their own groceries, they influence the parents. If the kids eat healthy, the parents will too (since they eat together). In the long run, this will translate into healthier teens and adults.

  2. I think there is a big difference between the two campaigns. In the Bird’s Eye Gen Veg campaign, there was a tie-in with a TV show that kids actually watched, as well as a contest which involved their direct participation. This was, I believe, the key to why the campaign worked – it was a fun activity coupled with the eating of veggies. However, the “Let’s Move” initiative doesn’t get the kids as involved. It hinges on them to actually see the in-store signs or fruit/veggie labels, which means they’d have to be in the stores shopping with their parents. I think it might work better if they also had a TV tie-in with Big Bird promoting healthy eating on Sesame Street -- the first linked article does hint that the ads would extend to the TV show. Then again, I watched Sesame Street as a kid (though I preferred The Electric Company – yes, I’m old) and I hated veggies (love them now), but I’m not sure if Big Bird (or even Snuffleufaguss) could’ve convinced me to eat broccoli back then.