Sesame Workshop-PMA Initiative Encourages ‘Brighter Eating’

Sesame Workshop and Produce Marketing Association have unveiled a national movement that applies the strength and influence of the Sesame Street brand and its beloved characters to inspire children ages two to five, and their parents and caregivers, to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.

The ‘eat brighter!’ tagline draws parallels between the characteristics of the Sesame Street brand and fresh fruits and vegetables. The initiative is driven by an industry-developed marketing toolkit that provides turnkey resources to use Sesame Street characters in media placements, in-store signage and packaging.

The unveiling comes at a time when a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds new evidence revealing that overweight or obese 3- to 5-year-old children are five times as likely to be overweight or obese as adults.

“Diet is the number one cause of mortality and obesity issues in the U.S., and as produce marketers, we have the power to influence children’s eating habits,” says Cathy Burns, PMA President. “We all know targeted marketing works. Our goal is to spark a unified movement, helping our industry rise above the advertising noise with a strong voice, and one clear message, meanwhile boosting sales and instilling good values to build customer loyalty.”

Retailers and suppliers who sell fresh fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are eligible to participate, and there are no licensing fees to use the Sesame Street characters.

“Members of the Sesame Workshop-PMA marketing taskforce have dedicated hours of their time to ensure the success and adaptability of the marketing toolkit and they should be commended for that,” says Todd Putman, chief marketing officer of Bolthouse Farms and chair of the taskforce. “Through their enthusiasm, an industry movement has evolved that creates marketing opportunities abound – and rest assured, this will be integrated into Bolthouse’s multi-year strategic marketing plan, and I know others will do the same.”

This collaboration, forged by the Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthy choices easier for busy parents and families, introduces an unparalleled opportunity to leverage marketing to differentiate fresh produce in the grocery store.

“Sesame Workshop has a long history of helping children eat healthier through our Healthy Habits for Life initiative which launched in 2004,” says H. Melvin Ming, president and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “Today we are thrilled to join the PMA in this new initiative.  We know the power and appeal our Sesame Street Muppets have to encourage children and their families to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. These healthier choices will lead to a brighter future for our children.”

The program targets the U.S. market and expects the first in-store applications beginning with Back to School this fall. The toolkit will help marketers of any size leverage this unique opportunity and includes, according to officials:

  • ‘eat brighter!’: A tagline that draws parallels between the characteristics of the Sesame Street brand and fresh produce — using adjectives like healthy, brilliant, alive – with a clear call-to-action that drives consumers toward a brighter, healthier future.
  • Thematic promotions: The toolkit outlines several thematic promotions, offering turnkey programs for quick implementation by industry marketers.
  • Customizable options for brand differentiation: Recognizing the industry’s need for differentiation, the toolkit was developed with a flexible and customizable approach, and similar to the Pink Ribbon campaign, allows for the creation of custom artwork and assets.

Complete program details, including a robust FAQs section and a video outlining the initiative, are available online at www.pma.com/EatBrighter. PMA and its partners will host a webinar featuring Sam Kass, executive director of Let’s Move!, on April 17 at 2:30pm EDT. Industry members are encouraged to register (visit www.pma.com/EatBrighter) to learn how they can get involved.

“As parents, grandparents and mentors to young children, we have the responsibility to change habits now to children can grow into healthy adults,” says Burns. “As produce marketers, we finally have the tools through this partnership to drive change by encouraging children to ‘eat brighter!’ for a healthier future.”

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