Kale is the king of greens!
That’s a very big statement to claim but ask all millennials and health geeks out there and they’ll 100% back me up. If you think about it, though, when did kale suddenly become an “in” thing? This leafy green has been with us since 2000 BC so how did the kale craze only start in 2012?
There is no doubt that kale is nutritious and they grow abundantly, but prior to its craze in 2014, no one paid attention to it. In the United States, salads were dominated by iceberg lettuce and spinach. Kale, in its uncooked and raw form, can be bitter and too chewy, and no one would want to digest something they won’t enjoy right?
Well, the last statement might be true a decade ago, but when a marketer decided that she loves kale so much and wants everyone to love it too, the ubiquitous kale became a symbol of everything healthy, hip, and pop culture.
Oberon Sinclair, the lady behind the creative agency My Young Auntie, employed the guerilla type of marketing to advance her cause. In an interview she said, “I literally put it on chalkboards around Manhattan and on the menus of cool restaurants”, the trend escalated from there. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver prepared dozens of recipes to make with kale. Actor-turned-lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow goopified this cruciferous vegetable and started a kale cult following. During its popularity height, Queen Bey even wore KALE sweatshirts to make everyone love it – and all this marketing campaign (organic or not) helped kale to reach its superfood status.
When asked what made her decide to revamp kale’s image which only acted as buffet decoration before, Sinclair said the decision was organic, “Not everything I do is planned, it does happen naturally. Things fall in my path and I notice them.” Sinclair also mentioned that “it’s important to do good.” One might think that Sinclair was working for a client when she started the I LOVE KALE movement. She originally told earlier that the whole campaign was for the American Kale Association, and everybody believed it because, you know, why not!
Except that there was no evidence that the coalition of kale farmers created AKA. When asked, the United Fresh Produce Association was not familiar with it and the National Farmers Union never heard of AKA as well. If all these vegetable growers say that there is no kale-lobbying group in the United States, it simply means one thing – that the American Kale Association doesn’t actually exist.
The most burning question then is, “Why would Sinclair go through all the work just to promote kale?” What’s in it for her? As much as we would like to think of conspiracy theories or dubious multi-million corporate PR reasons behind the American Kale Association, the truth is not that much exciting. When asked if she was behind the AKA, the self-confessed punk admitted, “I wanted to do something differently…” and it was her proudest campaign ever. Sinclair wanted to change people to eat healthily and since she loves kale, she managed to convert many people to her advocacy. Well, as long as it’s for the greater good, right?