Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WTF BROCCOLI PART DEUCE.

notfakebroc

A large number of our current readers are getting here via this post, which has been featured all over the internet in the last week and a half or so. A few days ago, I emailed the company- Small Planet Foods, and asked them if they'd like to comment on, or offer an interview about the tiny broccoli faces. I received, unsurprisingly, (they are owned by General Mills, after all) a pretty canned response:


"Dear Mrs. Carrier:

Thank you for contacting us concerning Cascadian Farm. We appreciate the opportunity to address this matter. Unfortunately, there is no one available for you to interview. However, I have included some information about the history behind the faces.
The tradition of hiding names or faces on Cascadian Farm packaging began over a dozen years ago. It was unspoken tribute by the package design department to the friends & family of Cascadian Farm. The faces won’t be included on our redesigned packaging.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please let us know.

Sincerely,

Leah Giovanni

Consumer Services"

So, that's about it. I'm pretty bummed to hear that they're phasing it out, but I'm not surprised. In fact, Summer and I recently took a field trip to the grocery store so I could pick up my own box of broccoli (Just to hang onto for fun. I'll save the box.) and we did some snooping to see what we could find.

One of the first things we noticed was that they were nearly sold out of the packaged broccoli containing the faces? Coincidence? WHO KNOWS.

wherezthebroc

I don't think I noted in the original post that the BOXED broccoli was the one with faces- the bags don't have it. In fact, we poked around all over the store, gazing at frozen vegetables, boxed cereal, juice concentrate- all from Cascadian Farm, and the only place we found more faces was the place we expected to. Reader Tim Bennett tipped us off in an email that the Cascadian Farm jam packages also had faces- and sure enough, there they were. MORE CREEPY-ASS BABIES, STARING US DOWN.

jam3

jam4

Further inspection showed DIFFERENT FACES hiding out in different flavors of jam, but we only ended up buying grape.

jam2

Jane Wells, of cnbc.com, insinuated here that Summer and I might have staged the whole thing, photoshopping tiny faces into the images ourselves. While that certainly wouldn't have been too difficult (well, maybe it would be, I'm no photoshop champ), I can assure you that I'm far too lazy to go to that much trouble for a laugh on my blog. All I can offer by way of proof is digital photographs, which I know don't hold much weight these days. Consider this very close-up shot of one of the creepy baby faces, which links to a high-res version on flickr that you can examine to your heart's delight:

jam

Anyway, I'd like to take this opportunity to once again say hello to our new readers, and hope that everyone sticks around for recipes and fun pictures. Speaking of pictures- on a technical note, I took these photographs with my Canon 20D, but since I don't have any fancy macro lenses, I simply stacked my two cheap lenses together to get the close-ups. It's a pretty easy trick and it takes very close-up images. That's where the weird vignetting comes from in some of the pictures, too- the lenses weren't taped together at all or anything, so you can sort of see the shadow of the other lens.


So, there you have it. An "unspoken tribute" (what is that even supposed to mean?) to friends and family of Cascadian Farm, as many commenters have already verified. And that's the last you'll hear from our frozen broccoli packages (I hope.)

28 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

VERRRRRRY interesting, haha :0)

heather said...

oh goodness those babies are creepy! who knew you're humble blog would be getting all this attention!? how fun!

Eleanor said...

They say "hiding names or faces" - have you found any hidden names?

I can't believe you spotted those tiny faces in the first place... My eyes aren't that good even with glasses on!

lost teeth said...

i once found little faces floating around in the ice cubes of a whiskey advertisement. it can be a form of subliminal marketing but most the times i think it's just the designers having a little fun. disney cartoons are totally guilty of this as well. the broccoli is too funny though, how creepy!

Soon, Then said...

Lol. I love the investigative journalism on this awesomeness. Its too bad when companies take out the fun. What if google didn't do funny things with their home page on holidays anymore?
Thanks for sharing the hilarity!

LMinVT said...

I just want to say a couple of things. I have been reading your blog for months and you girls are fabulous. I think it is wonderful that your post invited new readers. I thought that the company involved must be a small family based company, ironically they seem to handle it as an embarrassment. Personally, I would have thought that people may have started buying them out of curiosity, and found that they are good, and continued to buy their products. Oh, well, I guess their creativity, brought people to yours. Keep up the great work. I can't believe that you girls find the time to do so much in such a professional looking way. Take care, Laura

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I'm starting to get scared. Creepy!

b said...

we use cascadian farms raspberry jam at work and i was bummed to NOT find any creepy faces =(
maybe i'll look harder...i'm pretty sure my customers though i was CRAZY! haha

Elina said...

Hahaha, I'm a new reader due to the WTF Broccoli first post. I was so excited to see the title of today's post. Awesome stuff ladies! I love the recipes too so I'll be sure to stick around :) Great blog - keep it up! :D

sikegami said...

This is the weirdest, creepiest, funniest, mostly weird thing I have ever seen! 12 years, wow!

The Fabulous One said...

I know I'm definitely going out to buy Cascadian Farms tomorrow...

Oakley Rhodes said...

New Seasons let you take pictures in the store? With a big ol camera? Wow. New Seasons rocks.

Alicia Carrier said...

well... i just kind of took them. i don't know if they "let" you or not. (wtf is up with places not letting you take pictures inside, anyway?) i just snapped a couple really quick. but you never know- they are the friendliest store in town!

Nicole said...

I think it's sad that they're not going to include faces in the redesigned packages. No more Where's Waldo flashbacks.

Love your blog!

starrstrung said...

haha. stoners!

Matthew Tiffany said...

F General Mills. What, exactly, do they prove/acheive by phasing out the faces? Do the faces cost too much? Do the babies get a percentage check every quarter for packages purchased? Stupid corporate behemoth.

Angela said...

HA! "unspoken tribute" aka... the design studio probably snuck them in for fun and didn't bother to tell anyone else until after it got printed. I work in a design studio, I should know :)

Sarah said...

Hmm...seems to me if you're going to write for CNBC, you might as well spend the $3 to see for yourself if the broccoli is shopped. But either way your post inspired me to not only buy some broccoli, but show my checker at the store too! He was thrilled.

Knitopia said...

I found some strawberry fruit spread in my fridge (vintage unknown) and excitedly looked for hidden faces. The only ones I could find were extremely obvious ones on the back. Photo is here.

aleta meadowlark said...

Oh, maybe they thought you were outraged by the creepy faces? Or that other people were? Hearing their explanation actually makes it a kind of sweet bit of trivia.

Karen said...

this is pretty funny, but i'm no fan of cascadian farm after learning from michael pollan (who wrote the omnivore's dilemma) that they started as some type of hippie commune farm and ended up as a full-fledged subsidiary of General Mills (which, of course, markets tons of crappo food...gah.). just my soapbox. lol

Kirsten said...

Thank you for the follow-up... I linked to your first post from my blog and an old friend was a bit disappointed to know why there weren't little faces on his frozen blackberry package. Now we have the answer!

Ann said...

I'll bet you $5 that when Cascadian Farms sees the uptick in sales that the discovery of their creepy faces has caused that they'll continue the practice. They will become collector's items!

Wendy said...

I'm sad that they're getting rid of the faces, even though I didn't know they were there til you pointed them out. General Mills had to squash out any form of creativity. God forbid, there's something original out there.

Nico Prinsloo said...

You give them the ideal viral advertising idea for free and they cancel it?! OMG what an opportunity! They are fools. Just think what this could have done for their product!
Glad I don't work for such a tight-assed company.
They don't even THINK of using it and thanking you for promoting their product.

Sam said...

I worked at a small Health Food Store for a couple of years and whenever we trained new people we made sure to never leave out a good show-and-tell of the broccoli faces.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the follow-up!

John said...

Like I said, this is one of those "what I like about the Internet" stories, because the first response was from "randomwalker" who said, "I believe I can offer some help because this is in the rough area of my Ph.D thesis." He then went on to scare the crap out of me, because it's very possible this forensic analysis will be performed and most likely not from a company as benign as Google!

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