Intermarché – The Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables (Les Fruits & Légumes Moches)
One of the most notable international marketing campaigns in recent years was not only imaginative, but also shared a environmentally-friendly message. Marcel WW launched a campaign for Intermarché, a French super market, back in 2014 that changed the way consumers thought about produce. “To fight against food waste, Intermarché, the 3rd largest supermarket chain in France, decided to sell (30% cheaper) the non-calibrated and imperfect fruits and vegetables: “the inglorious fruits and vegetables” (marcelww). These imperfect fruits and vegetables are usually rejected by consumers, wasted, and thrown away by supermarkets. This contributes to a growing percentage of food waste internationally. The goal was to rebrand “inglorious” fruit, “Intermarché launched a massive global campaign to rehabilitate and glorify them”(marcelww).
Marcel’s campaign of “Les Fruits et Légumes Moches”, aimed to shed light on the issue of food waste and to educate consumers to make more environmentally-conscious decisions. It spread the message that even though the “inglorious” produce is not perfect, it tastes just the same and provides the same amount of nutrients. This marketing campaign included discounted inglorious produce displays, inglorious fruit juice and soup samples for cautious consumers, as well as print, billboard, tv, radio, and social media advertising. The idea took off, and the sustainable message touched the hearts of people worldwide. People all over the world spread the message on TV news broadcasts, print and online news articles, blog posts, personal social media sites, and private messages to friends.
Why was the campaign so shareable? Not only was the rebranding campaign socially and environmentally responsible, it was also comedic and visually eye-catching. The inglorious fruits and vegetables were portrayed in a way that is reminiscent of caricature portraits of movie characters. Each edible character was given its own offbeat name, personality, and tagline. “A Grotesque Apple”, “The Ugly Carrot”, and “The Failed Lemon” were uniquely shaped, but were under the spotlight and showcased as if they were flawless celebrities. The Inglorious campaign was the perfect combination of funny, witty, unique, and socially responsible that caused it to be spread virally. As noted on the Marcel WW website, the message of the campaign reached 21 million people after only one month. The Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables campaign was the “1st most shared article in the history of LSA (N°1 professional French retailer magazine)” and there were “1.2 Tons of sales per store on average during the first 2 days, resulting in a 24% increase in overall store traffic” (marcelww). In the following excerpt, Marcel Worldwide describes the results of the campaign:
In October 2014, Intermarché was elected “champion of advertising innovation” in France (Source: Advertising Innovation Observatory 2014, runned by Dufresne Corrigan Scarlett, Influencia and Opinion Way). In February 2014, the “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” campaign was elected as the French favourite campaign of the year. (Source: Ipsos Public Awards). Last but not least, this campaign was a real lever to change the whole category. Following our path 3 big French retailers launched their own ugly fruits and vegetables aisle: Auchan, Monoprix and Leclerc under the name “les Gueules Cassées.” International similar initiatives also emerged, following our campaign.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response to the Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign and the story of the popular campaign continues to spread internationally through social media. In all, the popularity of the campaign has not only improved the international brand awareness of Intermarché, but has also helped educate consumers and reduce the waste of the many almost-perfect fruits and vegetables.