The Miracle Food

Have you seen the new ad campaign for broccoli?

It’s a quirky, cynical angle on everyone’s favourite bitter green veggie. The reoccurring broccoli fan finds himself in various situations where something extraordinary has happened. In one situation, a skydiver’s parachute failed to open, yet he survives unscathed. In another commercial, a man’s house burned down around him while he and his pet dog miraculously survived. In each of these cases, the broccoli fan scolds these people for using the word ‘miracle’ when broccoli is the real miracle.

Although I admire the fresh perspective, I don’t like these ads and I don’t think they suit the social climate for right now. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, but I think people in a post-recession mentality are a little more sentimental and these ads are too cynical.

My boyfriend disagreed though. He likes the ads and says he’s been thinking about broccoli a lot more now.

What do you think?


  1. The conversation is certainly happening (thanks to you) but I don't like those commercials very much. It's not because they're too cynical but I just can't wrap my head around commercials for that particular veggie.

    I'm cool with milk ads (though they're dumb) and oranges but maybe that's because they've been a while and I just have to get used to seeing broccoli on my TV.

  2. Sean, thanks so much for your comment. I think you raise an interesting point. Do we need advertisements for milk or oranges? What about Ontario cheese? Bananas? Avocados?

    Do food products that are so basic need representation and advertising?

  3. Ya you're being sensitive, they are funny. I think the skydiving one was taped at my old dropzone (read: skydiving centre).

    Obviously advertising might not be neccesary but it probably helps the farmers, you said yourself that your bf is thinking more about broccoli now. Don't even try to say "Got Milk" didn't work.

  4. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for your comment. You could be right that I'm being too sensitive.

    "Got Milk" was certainly a popular ad campaign, but did it alter people's habits? Do people actually drink more milk as a result of that campaign? I know I don't.

    Seeing a commercial for broccoli kind of makes me think of seeing an ad for clothing hangers. Maybe that's next?

  5. i love these commercials, they are funny and i payed attention.

    does anyone know where i can find them online?

  6. I don't like these commercials. However, I'm a big fan of this veggie and eat it at least once a week. So, I believe it can stand on its healthy merits.

    I suspect the campaign was developed by one (or more) of those "30-something still-trapped-in-adolesence males" who didn't eat this veggie as a kid. So, of course, he thinks it's funny.

  7. Hi Lila,

    Thanks for your comment. It's interesting to see that quite a few of you have responded indicating that you do enjoy these commercials.


    I think you raise a terrific point about who is behind these ads. When I mentioned that I felt these ads didn't fit the 'social climate', I was also thinking about who does most of the cooking in a typical household and whether these ads would appeal to them. Think about your family and who does most of the cooking? Would that person appreciate this campaign?

  8. I don't find these ads particularly funny, but I appreciate their innovativeness.
    Let’s be honest. Prior to these ads, I could have probably counted the number of times I've had a conversation about broccoli on my right hand. Love them or hate them, these ads have managed to wiggle their way out of the monotonous cluster of prime time commercials and into the active consciousness of the TV viewing public, as evidenced by the fact we're having this discussion now. These ads may be a tad ridiculous, but this stupidity has helped to drive that underlying key message: "Remember Broccoli? It's really good for you, so you should eat it." I respect that.
    Like the "Get Cracking" campaign from the Egg Farmers of Ontario or the "Got Milk" campaign Matt wrote about earlier, the goal of this campaign is not necessarily to alter people's eating habits as much as it is to raise awareness for broccoli. In this regard, I'm not certain it matters who this ad is specifically targeted to, or whether or not they increase broccoli sales, as long as people are talking about it, which they seem to be doing.

  9. I hate those commercials. I am too sensitive but that doesn't mean that those commercials are not insensitive.

  10. Nick, I appreciate your angle that these ads are just to get the conversation started - kind of like a brand awareness campaign. Fair enough. I concede that they are probably succeeding in that regard.

    M., I'm with you girl. I agree. I can be weirdly sensitive too. Just because the ads bother me doesn't mean I'm overreacting. I'm sure other people feel the same way. I don't really appreciate that kind of ultra-ironic humour.

  11. I learnt at a very young age that you can't hide broccoli in a glass of milk

  12. Hi Jess,
    I just blogged about these ads, and came across your blog in my research. Hope you don't mind, but I linked up your blog post on my blog post, as a differing opinion.
    I really like the ads, despite them maybe not being perfect- I wish there were more ads for "real food" rather than processed junk food. While, as you say, they are "food products that are so basic", we're not eating them anymore. Coke has replaced milk. Sugary "cereal" or processed white bread have replaced real grains. French fries have replaced broccoli...
    I don't know, I think it's nice to see real food being advertised. But I respect your opinion... and love your blog!
    btw, I wonder who sponsors these ads...

  13. Hi Sybil,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I think you raise a really compelling point with your nutritional expertise.

    None of us are used to seeing advertising for 'real foods' rather than processed junk. I actually agree with you that it probably isn't the worst thing for people to get inside their heads.

    Like you, I'm also super curious about the funding and promotional campaign. I definitely noticed my website analytics go way up when I did this broccoli post- I imagine that's because the people who produced the ad were monitoring the dialogue.

    I wish they would come forth and lend their voices to our discussion. Everyone is so curious about the ads and the song that plays at the end.

    Perhaps my boyfriend was right - they've succeeded because they sparked a compelling discussion.

  14. I know the conversation is about dead, but does anybody find it unnerving that there isn't a "Broccoli growers of Canada" yet there are ads for Broccoli?

  15. Sorry! I didn't catch your comment until now, Heather. I'm right there with you! I wanted to know who was funding these ads. They don't say anything at the end like 'supported by blah blah blah.' I definitely do find it unnerving.

    Thanks for commenting.

  16. As a former sports and nutrition and sports instructor for a weight loss camp in the US ( and a current minion at an ad agency) , This commercial is very smart because:

    - Its primarily aired on MTV Canada, with a 14-24 yr old viewing demographic

    - This group also has insanely high cancer/obesity/diabetes rates

    - And finally, broccoli is incredibly cheap, and youth in middle America, and Canada, need to eat a hell of a lot more of it.

  17. Thanks for the comment, Jencoo! Do you know if the ad aired in the US as well. My understanding was that it was Canadian, but I could be wrong.

    I'll admit that I may been behaving sensitively about the ad. I respect that the content may have been intended for another demographic that wasn't me so perhaps it resonated better with them.

    Any idea who funded the ad, as moldboy mentioned? Normally, I would expect some lobby group's name to be at the end...