A Facebook post drew me to this brilliant and simple idea. Les fruit et légumes moche – or inglorious fruit and vegetables for those not fluent in French – is an idea that has proven highly successful for the Intermarché chain of French supermarkets.
For those not familiar with EU regulations, fruit and vegetables have to conform to certain sizes and ‘appearance’ before they can be sold. It is one glorious (sic) way in which European regulators control the average European’s life. However, this comes at a cost which gets passed on to the end consumer in higher prices.
Intermarché created an omni-channel campaign around what the YouTube blurbs call:
…celebrating the beauty of the Grotesque Apple, the Ridiculous Potato, the Hideous Orange, the Failed Lemon, the Disfigured Eggplant, the Ugly Carrot, and the Unfortunate Clementine.
The video starts by pointing out that in Europe, farmers throw away 300 million tonnes of non-compliant food each year. That’s absurd as the video clearly states.
For its part, Intermarché promoted the sale of these fruits and vegetables at a 30% discount to normal prices. The thrifty French, ever eager for a bargain, cleaned them out to the tune of 1.2 tonnes of produce per DAY per store, in the first couple of days following the promotional launch. As a side benefit, Intermarché saw a 24% increase in store footfall and claims to have reached 13 million people. That’s an astonishing set of results by any measure.
Several aspects of this story are worth noting. The light hearted and amusing campaign used traditional media such as print, TV and film alongside digital channels like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. While the Twitter response was barely a whimper, the YouTube video (above) has been viewed more than 2.1 million times and Intermarché counts more than 524,000 likes of its Facebook page. Even more interesting, Auchan and Monorpix, two other large French supermarket chains are following suit.
Who says that humor doesn’t pay?