Food for Thought: Have You Ever Seen Agriculture Television Ads? Do You Remember Them?

There’s this cute meme online that says:

“The key to eating healthy?”

(photo of fresh produce)

“Avoid any food that has a television commercial”. 

I “liked” it because I understood where it was going and it’s a positive message. But I and at least one other person noted that this meme’s claim isn’t totally true.

The other commenter mentioned Dole and BirdsEye, which are major canned and frozen food brands that do advertise and sponsor televised events. You could add Picsweet and Del Monte to that list as well.*

I mentioned state and national agriculture boards also run television ads and have for many years. I know I’ve seen avocado, potato and egg ads before, sponsored by their respective agriculture boards.

The original poster responded that they’d never seen an ad for eggs, avocados or potatoes but they didn’t have cable. Semi-full disclosure–the original poster is part of print media in a Western state that’s very much identified with vegetable and starch produce.

In light of that, this really blew my mind. ‘Not the cable part, I don’t have it either. It’s the not recalling agriculture tv ads from a national or state agriculture group. That would be like me, a native South Carolinian, saying I have never seen peach ads or other marketing for that industry. [We grow more peaches than Georgia, by the way.]  This isn’t just a public health concern, what about the state’s economy?

This whole situation really made me wonder about the effectiveness of agriculture advertising.

I am curious—do any of the following American TV ad references jog your memory? Or any agricultural ads? 

  • Have you heard of the incredible, edible egg? Do you “love eggs from your head down to your legs?
  • Fast forward to today: are potatoes goodness unearthed? And do you prefer Idaho potatoes?
  • How about What goes with the potatoes?What goes with the potatoes?  I can’t find it on the Web, maybe it was intentionally not uploaded by its creators, but I digress. Sometime between 1999-2005, a TV ad featured two young 20somethings, traveling cross country in a minivan, and invading random families’ houses at dinnertime. These energetic, perky young adults were there to show families potatoes are healthy, great for dinner, they’re easy to cook, and here’s what to serve with them.
  • How about those mini-ads at the beginning of PBS cooking shows? Do you watch Latin-themed cooking shows on your PBS affiliate station, sponsored by California Avocados or California Almonds? Or another state’s produce pride and joy?

Feel free to share in the comments any US or state agriculture TV ads you’ve seen, and what year or decade it was.

*=I really didn’t want to start a ‘nerdfight’ in the comments, but canned fruit is often sweetened with sugar or high fructose syrup, and high in preservatives. Canned vegetables are frequently ‘salted’ to death and a soggy mess when you open them up. Then there’s that possible BPA can lining issue. Similarly, frozen foods often have a mystery sauce on them that is full of preservatives as well. Major brands looking out for their profit margin above all else are tempted to use GMO produce and not tell you about it. We live in an age where we all have to read those labels and know where our food comes from, and know our farmers.