How to get a red in advertising

There’s a health food store down at the end of the block from us, offering anything from frozen dinners to seaweed extract. To be honest, the ‘health food’ tag is a complete misnomer, given that the price of organic fruit and vegetables is enough to give anyone a cardiac arrest. Only Russian oil oligarchs are likely to walk out of there with any sense that they haven’t just been robbed blind.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for avoiding pesticides on my courgetteszucchini, but do I really need to seek out a sub-prime mortgage in an attempt to buy them? Given the relative strength of the pound, I could probably get a short city break in Amsterdam for the price of a Granny Smith or two.

Last week, The Special One called me as I made my way back to Brooklyn from the office, asking me to pick up a few tomatoes for a salsa she was making. A reluctance to deviate particularly far from my direct path home from the subway meant a trip to the health food store was the only option. And sure enough, when the woman at the counter weighed my chosen selection, I discovered I had to pay twenty five cents short of ten dollars for five medium sized tomatoes.

Biting my tongue to prevent an involuntary attack of Tourette’s Syndrome, I tromped home with my booty (for the avoidance of doubt, that’s a reference to the tomatoes, not my arseass). Once back in the apartment, I took the tomatoes from their plastic bag, and put them on the chopping board in order to cut them up.

And then I noticed it. A small black sticker on the outside of each of my tomatoes. Not your usual sticker giving the shop assistant the necessary code to type into the cash register, no sir. Sure, it had the code on it – 4664 actually, if you must know. But this was a fruit and veg sticker with a difference.

In this day and age, it would appear, nothing is sacred when it comes to advertising. At least, not if you work for Disney. Because there on the side of the tomato was a tiny oval advert for the DVD and Blu-Ray release of animated movie Ratatouille.

In America, billboards, TV commercials and print advertising are no longer enough in a bid to capture our dollars, it would appear. Now they’ve launched an all-out attack on our greengrocers too. I can just imagine the Pixar marketing meeting now:

“Right, how are we going to get people to buy this movie.”

“Well, I’ve had an idea. The film’s called Ratatouille, and one of the main ingredients of an actual ratatouille is a tomato. So why don’t we advertise on every tomato we can lay our hands on? It’s the ultimate call-to-action!”

“You’re a genius! Only over-priced organic ones though – this is a classy movie, after all.”

I thought I’d seen everything when it came to advertising, but clearly not. It’ll be potatoes shaped like Daniel Craig for the next Bond movie, I tell you.

5 thoughts on “How to get a red in advertising

  1. Sarcasmom

    Ten bucks for 5 tomatoes ? I am surprised you felt safe carrying them out in the open like that. I can just hear some thug now-” Your produce or your life”. And, how can they cost so much if they are supporting advertisement. It’s like the bridal magaines. The whole phone book sized magazine is one big advertisement, and they have the nerve to charge the reader $10 for it.

  2. Paul Sheffrin

    I consider rats are pests. Given that Ratatouille is undoubtedly a rat, it follows that only organic tomatoes – untainted by pesticides – can safely carry advertisements for rats. It does, however, stretch the concept of what can be sold in a health food store, don’t you think?

  3. fishwithoutbicycle

    I work at an ad agency and you should hear some of the ideas thrown out in brainstorm meetings I’ve attended. Advertising on fruit and veg is tame by comparison 😉

    Oh and sometimes, these ideas come from the client. The ad agency just gets the blame 😉

  4. gabi

    Ummm… Puhleeze, Dylan, you’re right upstairs from the cheapest produce sold under a roof/indoors in Manhattan. The Fruit Exchange? I got gorgeous YELLOW (i.e. SPECIALTY) tomatoes there the other day for $0.99/lb.

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