Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: Jolly Green Giant and New York City


Brand Winner…

And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Winner: Jolly Green Giant


Loser:  New York City



Folks, he made his first appearance back in 1928 and now he’s back!

I’m speaking, of course, about General Mills’ iconic Jolly Green Giant.

Here is the take from AdAge:

The Giant, who debuted in 1928, will return to take a prominent role in a TV ad for the first time in some eight years via a campaign that marks the beginning of a revival for the big fella. In recent years, the giant had been relegated to low-profile appearances, appearing only as a shadow in some spots. Stuck in a standing position for decades, he will transition from a protector of the land to a kid-friendly “wingman” for parents to help make healthy eating fun, said Yumi Clevenger-Lee, marketing manager for the Giant brand. On Facebook and at an augmented-reality event in New York City in October, he will ask kids to take “One Giant Pledge” to eat one more vegetable a day. “We’re bringing the jolly back to the Green Giant and helping him get his mojo back,” she said.

They are also talking about bringing back the Cheerios kid. 

Is this just about nostalgia?  Absolutely not.  This is about long-established, hard-won brand equity.  The Jolly Green Giant was and still is an excellent representative for General Mills because he instantly expresses the values of the brand: health, accessibility, friendliness. 

This is about getting kids to eat their vegetables –and especially these days, we need all the help we can get. The value of a brand in this case is that the brand is a powerful bridge, connecting kids with the things that they should be eating.  Is one brand’s mascot alone going to change woeful eating habits?  No.  But the power of the brand might just be part of the solution.

Ho, ho, ho, green giant!


Last year, Travel & Leisure magazine named New York the rudest city in America.

Now they’ve named it the dirtiest.

Overall, I guess, New York can take it.  After all, it has always been the American city with the edge.

But in recent years it has gotten a lot cleaner so you’ve got to hope that this isn’t a sign that the trend is reversing.

Bottom line, New York has got to take this seriously.  Like any market data/feedback, it needs to be weighed and, if necessary, acted upon.  Things like the MTAs decision to remove trash cans from subway stations have to be looked at…is it working?

So let’s make NY a provisional loser — here’s hoping we don’t go back to the much less tidy past.

And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.


TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAY: A brand symbol can endure for decades if it truly expresses the values of the brand.








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