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Veggie Superheroes Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables

This just in…marketing works. If we can’t beat them, with their cute cow billboards, or celebrity endorsements; we need to beat them at their own game. A study published this month in medical journal Pediatrics suggests that young children can be influenced to eat fruits and vegetables with marketing tactics in similar ways as what burgers and potato chips companies do.

In 2013, researchers completed a vast study that involved over 22,000 elementary students in 10 urban schools to scientifically test this theory. Researchers hung banners and showed the children television advertisements featuring cartoon “super-powered” vegetable characters. It was no coincidence that vegetable consumption among students increased by 239 percent in a six-week period compared to the controlled “placebo” group of students who were not shown the banners and super hero cartoons.

In this study the students increase in vegetable consumption was tracked by how many students took vegetables from the school’s salad bar. One of the paper’s authors, David R. Just, told The New York Times that “a lot of people have pushed back on this, saying marketing is evil. But I have to disagree. It’s possible to use marketing techniques to do some good things.”

David, the research author is correct. Why is marketing evil when it promotes vegetables…meanwhile I challenge you identify one sequence of commercials that does not market the meat or dairy industry in smoe way.