One recent study found that kids thought food tasted better if it had “Shrek,” “Scooby Doo” or “Dora the Explorer” on the package. My reaction? Why not use cartoon characters to promote fruits and veggies? Clearly, someone else had this brilliant idea because “Shrek” is now helping to promote Vidalia onions.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the campaign, “Shrek Forever After, Vidalias Forever Sweet,” was unveiled this spring, timed to the release of the animated film and the beginning of the Vidalia season, which lasts through September. Vidalia is using the movie’s characters on packaging, store displays and on a website. The Vidalia website even features “Shrek” themed recipes, including “Swamp Onion Soup” and “Happily Ever After Onion Cake.”
Apparently, the strategy is working. Through mid-June, onion farmers had shipped eight million more pounds of Vidalias than by the same date last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture said — even though the 2010 season started two weeks later than in 2009.
“There was a natural connection between their brand and our character, since onions were rooted in Shrek’s personality from the first movie,” says Anne Globe, head of world-wide marketing at DreamWorks Animation, which produced the “Shrek” series.
Globe is referring to the scene in which Shrek compares ogres to onions saying “we both have layers.”
It’s unclear whether the promotion will have a long-lasting effect on kids’ interest in Vidalia onions. But, for the moment, some parents are enjoying the novelty of their kids begging for onions.
Tamara Gibson, a 40-year-old mother of three, says her four-year-old son was thrilled to see “Shrek” at the supermarket. Normally, “he only gets that giddy when we’re in the packaged-food aisle with really sugary things.” She’s now having a hard time keeping their house stocked with Vidalia onions.
Do you think “Shrek” could convince your kids to try Vidalia onions? Unfortunately, I don’t think it will do the trick for my girls.