So much has changed since the Jolly Green Giant was one of TV’s best-known corporate mascots a few decades ago.
For one, today’s parents prefer fresh vegetables (although it’s unclear if that makes any difference to finicky kids’ palates). The Jolly Green Giant has disappeared from marketing. And General Mills has sold the Green Giant vegetable brand to B&G Foods.
But now New Jersey-based B&G is planning to bring back the huge guy in a major way, with a marketing campaign backed by outlays of at least $30 million per year for four years as well as a slew of 15 new products that are meant as a gastronomic payoff for kids who get intrigued by this fantastical green figure that will be new to most of them.
The brand’s “modernized persona” has the “purpose [of] adding more vegetables to America’s plates,” declared Robert Cantwell, CEO of B&G Foods, in a press release about the company’s plans for the brand after paying General Mills $765 million for the century-old property last year.
“The Giant Awakens” campaign is meant to “take consumers down memory lane to remind them of the iconic Jolly Green Giant character and his part in serving generations of American families their vegetables,” the company said, “ushering in a more contemporary era for a classic American brand and icon.”
To that end, B&G released a one-minute teaser which shows the giant only in shadow form, seemingly menacing a city as his massive frame blocks the sun. But a little kid in a car understands that the giant is actually friendly, and waves to him through the rear window. The video has already appeared as a teaser in movie theaters.
The company also is updating this giant for the times, giving him a selfie stick, a Spotify playlist and an Instagram account that chronicles a cross-country road trip taken by the giant and his elfin buddy, Sprout, according to The New York Times. And as B&G continues to tease the giant’s reappearance only with shots of his extremities, there are snapshots and sight gags such as the giant doing triceps dips on the St. Louis Gateway Arch.
The giant’s visage is finally set to appear in a TV campaign next month. There will be other campaign elements including print ads in magazines and mobile pop-up stands at concerts and other events where people can sample new Green Giant products. These include Veggie Tots, an alternative to potato tots and french fries, and Riced Veggies, an alternative to traditional rice.
“He was always the good giant in the distance,” Jordan Greenberg vice president and general manager of the brand, told the Times. “We’re going to make him more relevant, more socially active with the consumer, and bring him into today’s world.”