It'S All In The Bag

July 1, 2006
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It’s All In The Bag
Dan Malovany, editor
dmalovany@stagnito.com
Some ideas are so bad that they end up sounding good. Others are just too weird for words. Take US Airway’s decision to seek advertising on its barf bags, for instance. I guess it was only a matter of time, but I’m not sure that too many companies, let alone any food businesses, want to be known as the “proud sponsor of projectile vomit.”
But it could be a good idea if, for example, you would like to use the bags to badmouth someone or something, so to speak. And, being a strong proponent of the belief that “low-carb makes me want to puke,” I decided to suggest that brilliant advertising campaign to Judi Adams, president of the Grains Food Foundation.
Unfortunately, Adams informed me that the foundation doesn’t believe in negative campaigning and bashing low-carb products in such a crude and sophomoric manner, because it simply would undermine the group’s credibility. Besides, she added, there’s no scientific evidence to support the idea that low carb causes queasiness … although personally, I beg to differ.
Adams suggested that a much more positive way to promote bread sales is through a national sandwich recipe contest called America’s Healthy Sandwich Showdown, which the GFF is launching in mid-August to coincide with National Sandwich Month and the back-to-school period.
In a national advertising campaign in Parents, Family Circle, Parents and Ladies Home Journal, the foundation encourages moms and other kitchen-counter chefs to submit their favorite recipes. Entries submitted to the GFF Web site, www.grainpower.org, will be judged on the sandwich’s health, taste and appearance. The winning contestant, which appropriately will be announced in November — National Bread Month — gets a trip to Sandwich of Kent, England.
Celebrity chef Dave Lieberman, the young star of The Food Network’s “Good Deal” and “Eat This,” will officially launch the contest through national and regional television and newspaper interviews. Kroger also will support the campaign with point-of-purchase materials. Wouldn’t it be nice if a number of sandwich shops and foodservice chains jumped on the bandwagon as sponsors?
In September, the GFF will distribute “healthy sandwich” backpack brochures to 500,000 students and parents nationwide through a partnership with the Student Nutrition Association.
Additionally, to sustain interest in the contest, the foundation will run Internet banner ads on newspaper Web sites in six key states, asking consumers to select “what kind of bread holds your sandwich together?” Working with Lieberman, senators from those states will use the type of bread voted most popular by their constituents to develop a state sandwich.
The integrated campaign’s goal is to reinforce the health benefits of bread, position it as the “hero” of a sandwich and remind consumers that sandwiches are healthy and convenient, Adams notes.
“We’re really looking for a recipe that’s new and different,” she says.
Growing up, my personal favorite was peanut butter and relish on white bread. I know that’s weird, but at least Jimmy McMahon got his due after stealing my lunch one day in the third grade. I knew it was him when he used the brown bag as an “airline bag” after biting into the sandwich.
Okay, peanut butter and relish sandwiches — or advertising on barf bags — probably won’t take the nation by storm, but hopefully, the sandwich contest will. As they say, the difference between an incredibly bad idea and an outstandingly good one is often just a matter of taste.

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