In Defense of Broccoli

While listening to NPR’s “All Things Considered” yesterday, I heard an interview with Ron Midyett, CEO of Apio Inc., a grower/shipper of broccoli. He was being interviewed because broccoli had been mentioned several times in the Supreme Court hearings about health care that took place this week. And apparently getting your product mentioned in the Supreme court is kind of a big deal:

MELISSA BLOCK, NPR HOST: Ron, were you paying attention to the Supreme Court arguments this week and hearing your vegetable coming up multiple times?
RON MIDYETT: To be honest with you, I became aware of the broccoli example this morning when some colleagues in the industry started sending me e-mails and wanting to know what I’m doing with my marketing program to get broccoli mentioned in the Supreme Court discussions.

The most interesting part to me was that Midyett jumped at the opportunity to actually do some marketing for his product:

BLOCK: Why do you think it’s broccoli that – out of all the vegetables – gets picked on, gets no respect. Why broccoli?
MIDYETT: Perhaps people have had bad experiences with broccoli and how their mother or grandmother prepared it when they were growing up and it’s – and it was a memorable experience. With that said though, I can only invite people to revisit it and give it a try, because it truly is – it’s a superfood.

This quick-thinking CEO took advantage of a rare chance to shine a positive light on his product with absolutely no real cost attached. To me, the moral of the story is: be nimble. As a professional marketer, or someone in charge of a brand, you need to take every opportunity to talk about what you’re selling. If you’re not thinking the way Ron Midyett was thinking yesterday, change the way you think. If you can create an opportunity to increase awareness or sales (or for someone to talk about your company/brand/product like I am right now), you should do it. And if you can combine that with your paid media, and your social strategy, you’ll likely find good results at the end of the year.
Now, make sure you eat your broccoli tonight (after all, it is a superfood). And in the coming weeks, watch out for a fresh advertising campaign for broccoli.
You can find audio and a transcript of the segment here.