Beaning of America
April 15, 2004
North Dakota and Minnesota dry bean growers donned tuxes and took the Northarvest Bean Growers Associations Beaning of America campaign to the streets of Boston Jan. 6.
They covered commuter trains, bus shelters and billboards in Bean Towns busy restaurant and entertainment district with messages such as Toot if you like beans and Who cut the cholesterol?
The growers rode the trains with commuters and passed out bumper stickers. They participated in an event in Boston Common where they talked about their healthy legumes while the Boston Childrens Opera performed their rendition of the Beans, beans the magical fruit song.
While you wont often catch us farmers decked out in tuxes, this event is a true example of the lengths we will go to in order to spread our message that our poor humble beans are getting a bad rap, Gary Friskop, Northarvest Bean Growers Association president and a Wahpeton, N.D., farmer, told the Boston media.
Several radio and television stations and the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald covered the campaign.
The buzz & has exceeded our wildest dreams, says Jim Bendt, president of Gabriel deGrood Bendt, the Minneapolis advertising agency that created the campaign.
CNN, CBS, NBC, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and many other newspapers covered Northarvests unique and fun advertising campaign to boost dry bean consumption.
The media coverage increased the impact of the Grower Associations advertising budget by more than 40%.
The campaigns Web site, www.magicalfruit.org, has had over 25,000 hits since it went live in November. The popularity of the site has led to a No. 1 search ranking for magical fruit on major search engines, such as Yahoo!, MSN and Google.
We got this for free &. most companies pay big bucks for this result, Bendt says.
Yahoo! ranked the picture of Fargos Clara Barton Elementary School chorus singing Beans, beans in front of the Without beans, chili would just be a bowl of meat billboard as one of the Top 5 most emailed photos during the launch period.
Theres a steady stream of appreciative email messages coming into the Growers Association about the campaign. Here are two samples:
I just wanted to say that I think this billboard campaign and this web site is one of the most clever I have seen in sometime. My teenage son and I have had a delightful time perusing your message together. And you know how difficult it is to connect with a teenager! From the desk of a farmers daughter, best wishes!
I am 60 + years old. I work with more than 50 twenty somethings. Outside our office at 20 Custom House Street, Boston, MA 02110 is your sign Live To Be An Old Fart, which they have dedicated to me. Would it be possible to get a copy of this sign for my office as a tribute to the kids? Thanks for any help you might provide.- Gene
The Growers Association is rolling out the campaign in cities across the nation over the next two years. The next stops: Sacramento, Calif., in March and Minneapolis in May.
Top: the Boston Children's Opera sings the "Beans bean the magical fruit." Below: The Northarvest growers toast the town with beans; a transtop promotes beans with a little humor.