Fruits & veggies take on packaged food with FNV ad campaign endorsed by the First Lady and celebrities

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Fruits & veggies FNV ad campaign endorsed by FLOTUS and celebrities

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The threat posed by fresh foods and produce to sales of packaged foods is about to increase exponentially with the launch of a star-studded, national marketing campaign to encourage teenagers to eat more fruits and veggies. 

The multi-media campaign enlists high-profiled celebrities including actresses Jessica Alba and Kristen Bell and athletes Victor Cruz and Cam Newton to give America “a healthy dose of advertising”​ for oranges, beets, avocados, apples and other produce, which it will collectively brand as FNV – a catchier version of fruits and veggies, James Gavin, board chairman of Partnership for a Healthier America, announced Feb. 26 at the non-profit’s 2015 Building a Healthier Future Summit.

He explained that the never-before-tried marketing campaign “will be stealing a page out of the big brands playbook with advertising for fruits and veggies”​ that is high quality, engaging and touches consumers through different outlets, including print, television, social media and at bus stops and in retail outlets.

“We are pulling out all the stops. We will be disruptive. We will be proactive. We will leverage celebrities. We will stop at nothing until the country is asking for more FNVs, please,”​ Gavin said.

The campaign, which will launch nationally in the spring, already won the admiration of one the country’s most notable celebrities and health advocates: First Lady Michelle Obama.

“This campaign is going to be amazing. It is exciting, it is fresh, it is current,”​ she said at the event. “If folks are going to pour money into marketing unhealthy foods, then lets fight back with ads for healthy foods.”

The campaign will be “as fresh, colorful, light and crisp as the fruits and veggies it’s promoting, leaning on strong typographic design with fruit and vegetable accents to relay self-aware, tongue-in-cheek headlines,”​ PHA said, adding the campaign was developed by the advertising agency Victors & Spoils, which also does campaigns for Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills.

The advertisements will target teenagers, who data shows have the least nutritious eating patterns. In particular, it will focus on teens in socially and economically challenged areas that might not have as much access to fresh produce or collective community pressure to consumer it, said Todd Putman, chief commercial officer of Bolthouse Farms, which is a founding partner in the FNV campaign.

With this in mind, the campaign will focus more heavily in two lead markets: Fresno, Calif., and Hampton Roads, Va., according to PHA and FNV.

Funding the campaign

While the campaign will help all fresh produce manufacturers and marketers, not everyone in the industry will have to foot the bill. FNV currently is being funded by nine companies and organizations, including Bolthouse Farms.

The other partners include Avocados From Mexico, The Honest Company, Produce for Better Health, the Produce Marketing Association, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sweetgreen, Victors & Spoils and WWE.

But even with these heavy-hitters, an endorsement from the First Lady, a full line-up of celebrities and “killer creativity,”​ Team FNV needs more help “to win the day,”​ said Gavin.

“We need a team to get us there. A group of people who are willing to step out of their comfort zone and support a strategy not yet tried. We need a team that will include industry, non-profits, produce associations,” ​churches, retailers and more to “help ensure our success,”​ he said.

The campaign also will hold itself accountable with a “robust research” ​component that will measure sales of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables in the lead markets and nationally. It also will measure consumer consumption, awareness, recall and resonance, according to PHA.

Going above and beyond

Even though Bolthouse Farms already supports FNV, it is rising to the campaign’s and Obama’s challenge to “do more”​ to improve the health of America.

The company, which sells carrots, fresh dressings and juice, also is launching a “cousin campaign” ​ to the FNV campaign: the “Fruit and Veggie Takeover.”

The takeover is a social media campaign that will challenge people to help make the Internet healthier by collectively posting 1 million tweets, Instagrams and Facebook updates about fruits and vegetables every day for the week of March 2, said Suzanne Ginestro, chief marketing officer at Bolthouse Farms.

She explained that how people behave online is a reflection of how they behave offline and that by encouraging healthier online behaviors the firm hopes to inspire healthier eating in real life.


The company came up with the idea after tracking food related hashtags on social media through its Food Porn Index for the past year, Ginestro said. She explained that the company discovered through the index that there are more than 1.7 million food hashtags posted per day and only 37% feature fruits and vegetables.

The goal to generate 1 million posts per day about fruits and vegetables should help even the score, Ginestro said, noting participants should use the hashtag #URWHATUPOST in order to be counted.

The company will be excited if the goal is met, but even if it isn’t the campaign will help raise awareness about healthy eating and consuming more fruits and vegetables, which is the ultimate goal of the campaign and FNV, Ginestro said. 

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