Frozen and canned vegetable brand Green Giant has a lurid proposal for starving dieters in its latest promotion: they can cheat on their diets and eat portions as big as the Jolly Green Giant himself if they eat vegetables.
The effort, which includes a new website and video series, is focused on changing the conversation about dieting and pushing the brand as a meal substitute or snack rather than merely a side at dinner.
The Giant Difference website features tools like the Lose It! app, which includes a veggie challenge and a Green Giant badge. Site visitors can also find tips from Green Giant partner SparkPeople.com, which calls itself a diet and healthy living community, as well as recipes that make vegetables the focal point of meals.
The site also includes a visual comparison of a 100-calorie portion of vegetables and a 100-calorie portion of classic diet cheat foods like chips.
“For dieters that like to get more out of their meals in regards to portion size, a heaping bowl of vegetables can be a delicious and satisfying option,” Green Giant says.
The site launched in late August or early September, says John Stockman, marketing associate director of Green Giant.
In addition, the brand says it wants to insert fun into dieting with a series of lighthearted videos on its YouTube channel called Caught in the Act.
The videos feature a To-Catch-a-Predator-style ambush of alleged cheaters in marriage, dieting and word games. According to Green Giant, the videos focus on the humor of diet deprivation and feeling hungry and the imperception that eating a big portion of vegetables is cheating on a diet.
One of the videos, Extra Vegetable Affair, has about 7,700 views as of September 22.
“Eating vegetables for health or managing weight we feel is a really revolutionary way to think about dieting and can help consumers find more balance in their diets, so they don’t feel like they’re in deprivation mode,” Stockman says. “[The idea that] you can eat a big plate of vegetables, which is satisfying and keeps you full, is a new way to diet and a new way to manage weight without depriving yourself.”
The brand is also partnering with Dr. Venus Nicolino, who is also known as Dr. V, from the Bravo show L.A. Shrinks to coach diet cheaters as they “try to kick their annoying diet cheating habits to the curb.”
The cheating therapy portion kicks off on September 24, and runs through October 22. In it, Green Giant says it will chronicle the journey of 10 women who have “quirky” diet cheating habits as they blog each week about the progress they make with Dr. V, who will provide advice, encouragement and homework.
“The goal of the program will be to help each woman’s relationship with dieting get back on track so they can feel good about cheating – when it’s with vegetables,” Green Giant says.
According to Stockman, Weight Watchers pioneered the notion of vegetables as having zero points that count toward a total daily target. Green Giant started incorporating Weight Watchers points in 2011 and is now pushing the notion of “dieting in a different way,” he says. “You can eat a lot and lose weight if you eat in the right away. Green Giant has great way to do that.”
Promotion includes TV and digital video advertising on sites like ABC.com, Hulu Plus and HBO Go, as well as traditional banner ads.
Green Giant was founded in Le Sueur, Minnesota as the Minnesota Valley Canning Company in 1903, when it says it sold 11,750 cases of white cream-style corn.
Green Giant is a General Mills brand.