Oct 03, 2012 • By

The Green Giant meets the Big Apple

After eight years away from the spotlight, the Jolly Green Giant has returned in a “larger-than-life” way to encourage families to eat more vegetables – including an appearance yesterday in New York City’s busy Grand Central Terminal.

For seven hours Tuesday, families – an estimated 750,000 people pass through Grand Central every day – got an opportunity to interact with the iconic, emerald leviathan through the miracle of technology.

The event was part of a larger effort by the Green Giant brand to resurrect what Advertising Age magazine once called the third most effective marketing icon of the 20th century.

“We found that the Green Giant was becoming a faded memory with consumers,” says Tsubasa Tanaka, associate marketing manager for the Green Giant brand. “He used to be so relevant, but in recent years he was relegated to a giant shadow in the valley. He remains one of the strongest equities that we have, and we knew it was time to bring him back and share his jolly nature with everyone.”

Many baby boomers and Generation Xers knew him well, and wondered whatever became of the Green Giant. But the Millennial Generation – those born between 1982 and the early 2000s – had little exposure to him.

“They just didn’t know the Green Giant,” Tsubasa says.

Taking a page from the General Mills UK’s successful “Giant High-5 for 5-a-day” campaign, the “One Giant Pledge” initiative in the U.S. also encourages families and children to eat more vegetables.

When children and families made the pledge to eat more vegetables at Grand Central, a larger-than-life Green Giant on a big screen awarded them with a fist bump or high-five.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people high-fived or fist bumped the Jolly Green Giant, and thousands stopped by to watch the event and snap their own photos.

Green Giant has posted many of the photos with its fans, on its Facebook page.

“People of all ages and backgrounds took the stage and gave their best ‘Ho Ho Ho’ impressions,” says Tsubasa.

Alison Sweeney, of “Days of Our Lives” and “The Biggest Loser,” also was on hand for the event as you see in this video.

Sweeney also took this photo with Sprout.

In addition to the “One Giant Pledge” event Tuesday, the Green Giant has also taken a giant step forward into the spotlight in other marketing venues.

He’s featured more prominently in the packaging of our new line of Green Giant Seasoned Steamers, has his own Facebook page, and is front and center in two new commercials.

“We know that 94 percent of Americans aren’t getting enough veggies into their diets, and that most people know they should be eating more, but they aren’t necessarily inspired,” says Tsubasa. “With the Green Giant as their wingman, we’re making it fun and simple for families to eat healthier.”

Find out how you can participate in “One Giant Pledge” on Green Giant’s Facebook page.

And, for great tips on encouraging children to eat more vegetables, watch this interview that we did with dietitian Melissa Halas-Liang of SuperKidsNutrition.com, via Skype.