Thanks, Salad Sisters

February 18, 2008 at 4:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I was excited and bewildered at the essentially useless Apple desktop computer my family got in the mid-90s. At the bottom of the box the computer came in was the Dole 5 A Day Adventure CD-ROM. And my life would never be the same…really. 

The 5 A Day Adventure CD-ROM was no Oregon Trail. It was my first interactive computer experience. The fruits and vegetables talked to you. They had personalities and names (Bobby Banana and Salad Sisters, to name a few.) The characters starred in music videos.

dole-pic.jpgOkay, the CD-ROM is pretty amateur by today’s standards, but in 1995, this was high-tech stuff. I watched the music videos over and over. I mastered every game. I fought with my sisters over computer time. What I didn’t realize then was that I was learning. As soon as it would have turned too obviously educational, that would have been the end of my 5 A Day Adventure.

I received Dole’s CD-ROM as part of its 5 A Day campaign, which has been on-going since 1991. A lot of Dole’s efforts targeted elementary schools with the CD-ROM. I received it through a partnership with Apple Computers.

I want to say thanks, Dole.

My parents didn’t force me to eat healthy as a kid. I ate just as many hot-dog and mac n’ cheese meals as every other kid in the 90s, but I make good decisions about what I eat as an adult. Maybe Dole didn’t cause a healthy eating revolution with its 5 A Day Adventures, but I think they helped shape the way I eat.

Dole couldn’t have done better in targeting our generation. With Nintendo, TV shows and computers, we wouldn’t bother to pick up a pamphlet or listen to the school nurse. We needed more and we got more.

But the problem in child obesity still exists. Many blame the advertisers who market their high-sugar products on TV stations like Nickelodeon. Last year 11 companies in the food industry agreed to stop advertising products that do not meet certain nutritional standards to children under 12.

Susan Linn, co-founder of the Boston-based group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said in the New York Times article:

            “This is great public relations for the companies, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough.”

 Linn is right. Steps are being taken toward a healthier future, but it’s still not enough.  

Solution? more PR. 

Task: Creative, healthy eating campaigns that will educate and entertain children of the new millennium. 

From the look of Dole’s 5 A Day Web site, it plans on doing just that. Jennifer Grossman, Vice President and Director of Dole Nutrition Institute, addresses the change in a letter saying:

 “ Several factors helped us wake up to the need to revamp our program. Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines now recommend far more than just ‘5-A-Day,’ but rather, depending on age, urge up to thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Second, much has changed in the twelve years since Dole 5 A Day was first launched. Obesity has surpassed malnutrition as the main challenge facing today’s children. Parents need to take on a greater role in preventing obesity — and therefore need to be more actively included in this site. Diversity and shifting demographics cry out for increased access to nutrition education resources for Hispanic populations. Incredible technological innovations have opened up opportunities for us to deliver content in new, more interactive and cost efficient ways.”

Parents can also take an online survey, to help Dole determine what should be on the updated site.

Props, again to Dole.

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