Posted by: laughs4dads | September 25, 2010

The Weekend Big Idea

In tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times Magazine (which I get on Saturday because I’m special), Rob Walker, in his excellent “Consumed” column, describes a campaign by carrot farmers to package and advertise baby carrots as if they were junk snack foods.

This, the farmers think, will get kids to want to eat them.

As proof that this theory may have something to it, Walker cites a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in which children ages 3-5 were given identical foods, some in plain packaging and some in McDonald’s packaging. The kids always thought the stuff in McDonald’s packaging tasted better, whether it was fries, milk or carrots.

That would seem to lend credence to the marketing strategy…except that the carrot campaign has only $25 million behind it as compared to billions of dollars supporting actual junk food.

And that brings me to my big idea. It’s an idea that will get kids to eat healthier, and make money for carrot farmers, and make money for junk food companies. And it’s very simple:

If kids like anything better when it comes in the branded packaging of junk food, then just sell the branded packaging of junk food! Not the food, just the packaging.

We create a website called, say, There a parent can purchase empty branded packaging for any healthy food. For instance, Doritos Brand Celery. Or Arby’s Asparagus. Or Skittles Tofu Bites. When the packages arrive, the parent simply fills them with the nutritious snacks and the kids eat them up.

The farmers sell more stuff. The corporations make money on licensing fees. And we (that would be me and you, the person who will pay me a fortune to use my idea), will make so much money we’ll be able to donate a large sum to some municipal public school system and appear on Oprah.

Or not.


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