It’s All about the Packaging, Baby!

Jazzy packaging makes all the difference to shoppers nowadays. Even if you don’t think about product packages too much, rest assured that there are zillions of consumers out there who do. Would you pass over your favorite cereal in favor of one that had a blazingly colorful box? Would you purchase a snack you’ve never tried just because you couldn’t look away from the hypnotic packaging that contained it? Many would answer yes in a split second – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Many companies are turning to aggressive marketing attempts that involve fancy-schmancy packaging…but will it work?

Here’s one example of a spruced-up package rebrand: baby carrots. (You know, the bite-sized carrot sticks in mini bags that fit perfectly inside of kids’ lunch sacks.) An article on Fast Company’s site disclosed the intentions of the Baby Carrots brand to revamp their packaging to make it look more like junk food. They’ve also tagged their juicy little carrots with a bold new tagline: “Eat ’em Like Junk Food.” The end goal of this $25 million dollar campaign is to encourage kids to eat healthier and reach for a bag of juicy carrots in lieu of that bag of cheesy puffs or cheese-coated chips.


Eat 'em Like Junk Food

Would you?

I have to admit that I’m impressed with these carrot packages; each of the 3 new designs is flashy and stylized, and it’s difficult to believe that healthy vegetables are contained within them. Each bag has a clear window on the front that allows consumers to see what’s inside, and the carrots do look remarkably like Cheetos at first glance. However, I wonder if kids will actually fall for this approach. Don’t get me wrong, baby carrots are tasty, but they’re certainly not on the same level as sodium-laced, artificially-flavored cheese curls. Can a snazzy junk food bag really make that much of a difference to children, or is the Baby Carrots brand barking up the wrong tree?

The way I see it, these new packages could have advantages besides the obvious. I’m not sure if grade school has changed since I attended, but I remember being the recipient of daily ridicule because my mother would pack my lunch with fruits and vegetables instead of greasy chips. Perhaps these attractive Baby Carrots packages will blend in better with other lunchroom goodies and possibly even make healthy eating the cool thing to do! Hey, I can dream…

I highly recommend that you visit the Baby Carrots website and feast your eyes on their re-branding campaign in all its glory. The site is complete with a punchy flash introduction, a YouTube video showcasing their carrot-themed video game for the iPhone (no, I’m not kidding), and impressive interactive menus featuring dancing carrots. Since when did baby carrots become so hip and extreme? In the twenty-first century, apparently…at least that’s what the Baby Carrots brand is hoping for! (Hey, I know a wonderful place they could go to get some carrot stress balls or to have their own baby carrot stress balls designed! Wink wink…)

Do these cool junk food packages make you hungry for baby carrots? Do you think more highly of a brand if they use eye-catching packages? Will this hip packaging and branding craze simply phase out, or will it continue and wage an unstoppable battle for consumers’ brand loyalty? Let’s talk about it!

Jill Tooley

Jill has been obsessed with words since her fingers could turn the pages of a book. She’s a hopeless bibliophile who recently purchased a Kindle after almost 6 years of radical opposition, and she loves stumbling upon new music on Pandora. Random interests include (but are not limited to) bookstores, movie memorabilia, and adorable rodents. Jill writes for the QLP blog and assists with the company’s social media accounts. You can connect with Jill on Google+.


  1. Barbara Miller

    Well, I first have to forget that baby carrots are not actually baby carrots at all. They are carefully sculpted carrot pieces intended to LOOK like baby carrots, so the facade begins there! I am not sure kids are going to fall for this, however, if the packaging helps them blend in with their friends at lunchtime, who am I to question it?

    As far as packaging in general. My favorite cereal could be in a brown paper bag, and I would still buy it over a different cereal in some snappy packaging. But like most people, I might try something new based upon a unique and creative package design. I think packaging is important. It is how we present things, be it our products or ourselves. How boring would our catalogs be with no images? What if we presented a very high-end promotional product in a polybag? It wouldn’t have nearly the attraction that it might have if presented in an appropriate gift box. So, we are stuck with it. Packaging matters. Let’s just hope that when it comes to people, we take the time to look beyond it!

  2. sam

    hmm… well I love baby carrots but I like to know I am eating something healthy. Just my opinion I am really turned off to certain foods if the packaging is too flashy. I can understand why they do it for kids, but I think they should more so latch on to the new “Green” trend as oppossed to the junk food industry. To me it just seems as they are perpetuating the unhealthy habits we tend to have in this country. But if they could somehow market and campaign healthy eating and how cool it makes you, then yeah I think it is viable, but carrots? I like the interactive bit w/ the iphone. The potato chip like packaging seems like it may deter suburban moms as I said before with this new “Green” trend. To me it seems like the healthy food industry is moving in the wrong direction, what next: “Custard, filled Carrots because “It tastes better”?

  3. Bret Bonnet

    Cheeeeeesy poooooooooofs! 🙂

    I think this branding campaign is VERY creative and I give mad props to the Baby Carrots brand for giving it a shot, but at the same time, the EXTENT to which this new packaging/marketing campaign is going – it kind of insults my intelligence. I mean, through your packaging, you’re trying to tell me this is a “cool” snack food. Since when have carrots been cool? It’s an interesting angle but I think it relies to heavy on the tongue and cheek angle of marketing this as a FUN and ATTRACTIVE alternative to other less healthy but popular snack foods.

    Does packaging matter, sure it does, but I think getting this product PLACED closer to other refrigerated snack goods like “Snack-Packs” would go a lot further. Make the customer choose then… The produce aisle, which in my experience, is where this product is most often located, is not the time I’m thinking about getting my snack on.

    Here’s an idea, inject these suckers with some fat free ranch dressing and sell them as STUFFED BABIES. The product naming might need some work – JK!, but who wouldn’t want to enjoy some processed carrots stuffed with even further processed ranch dressing. My palette is watering just at the thought of it – JK!

    Sam, I’ve actually had custard filled carrots before… and in case you were wondering, they DO taste better. They are delicious! 🙂

    • Amanda

      hahaahaha. Bret, your comments never fail to crack me up! =)

      Stuffed Babies, genius.

  4. Scooby DOO!

    When you offer a staple item, how DO you create differentiation? It’s a question asked of us on a daily basis. The answer? It’s not easy, especially when it comes to food. The easiest way is to start by reducing your price and make packaging that appeals to you target market, hence what we see above. However, if you are relying on crafting packaging alone (or you are at rock bottom prices), I think they have really missed two of the most fundamental “P”‘s of marketing. If you can combine a special promotion, along with a creative display that places the product in front of the consumer before others, now you are talking. The point? Don’t be myopic, and certainly don’t rely on just cool wrapping alone, to make the sale, even if you offer impulse items. Conventional marketing wisdom still sets the paradigm for successful promotions; follow it! Did you get all of your 4 P’s in your last promotion? If not, see bubba.

  5. QLP Kid

    For some reason I do not care if it insults my intelligence right now, I think because I have this weird craving for baby carrots…hmmm..

    But seriously they look 199% more appetizing to me!

  6. Vernon

    I remember the Doritos from the 80’s, the bag was red and white even had some blue on it. The Nacho Cheese flavor really hasn’t changed much, but that bag has gone from makeover to makeover again and again. Darker bags w/neon lighting and squiggly electric like wording. (Really what does ‘Extreme” have to do w/Nacho Cheese?)

    If you put the old bag of Doritos against the new bag today nobody would buy the old bag. Naturally the our eyes are drawn to the colors of the newer bag.

  7. Jana

    Dude, this packaging stuff is all well and good, but have you seen the video game they’re rolling out along with it?

    Thank me later.

  8. QLP Jill

    @Barb – I agree. A high-end promo item wouldn’t have as much of an impact if packaged in a cheap bag! I hate to say it, but packaging DOES matter…although, once I’ve decided I favor a particular brand, it takes a lot to discourage me from buying it. It would take oodles more than just a flashy package to break my brand loyalty!

    @Sam – It also irks me that we’ve gotten to this point. If you had asked me about this 10 years ago, I would have told you you’re nuts…who ever heard of junk food packages for baby carrots? I mean, I’ve always loved eating them, even when they came in boring plastic bags! Why can’t kids just eat carrots because they’re delicious and not because they like the pretty colors? On the other hand, though, I’m all for anything that encourages children to eat their vegetables.

    @Bret – Great points! I do have to say a great big “EWWWW!” in regard to your custard-filled carrot comment, however. Gross!

    @Scooby – You’re right, it takes a lot more than slick marketing to help a company succeed. I’m anxious to see what else the Baby Carrots brand comes up with to draw customers in and incorporate those other “P”s!

    @QLP Kid – See, it’s already working! 😉

    @Vernon – I TOTALLY remember those Doritos bags! Wherever those bags were, there were usually some retro cans of Pepsi as well. Ah, good times! And don’t even get me started on the whole “Extreme” marketing craze…I think it wore out its welcome a long time ago. You’re right; we’re becoming more and more used to insane colors, fonts, and designs on our packaging. It makes me wonder where we’ll eventually end up!

    @Jana – I saw the preview for that carrot iPhone game on their site and couldn’t believe it! Thanks for finding the YouTube video. You can bet I’m downloading that from the App Store as we speak! Baby carrots, prepare to be pwned!

  9. QLP Kid

    I’m downloading the game NOW! I mean…After work… =)

  10. Amanda

    I love this article Jill. =)

    I have never seen baby carrot packaging like this…how long ago did they come up with this change? For me, if I need to get carrots at the store, I don’t care what the package looks like. But for kids, I can really see how these would be more appealing.

    • Jill Tooley

      Thanks, Amanda! 😀 I think they changed it back in September of 2010. I haven’t actually seen any of these in stores, so I’m wondering if this campaign fell to the wayside? It would be a shame if it did…I thought it was pretty creative!

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