Kids get the upper hand in Dole's new campaign

‘Hold My Fruit Cup’ flips the script of recent ads

Published On
Jan 06, 2022

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A new ad campaign from Dole takes a different tack to reach parents of school-age children—by putting the kids in the driver's seat. 

“Hold My Fruit Bowl,” which debuted this week on national TV and in social channels, plays off the “hold my beer” meme often expressed by exasperated adults. The commercials show kids finding their way out of problematic situations and confidently one-upping their moms and dads.


For Dole, the new spots represent a somewhat gentler approach to communicating to families. The brand’s “Normal-ish” campaign, which launched a year ago, focused on the struggles of resuming post-pandemic lives: The “Date Night” ad showed a gay couple whose plans for a romantic night out are spoiled by miscommunicating over hiring a babysitter, and wind up resigned to sharing fruit cups by candlelight in their kitchen.

Also last year, Dole shined an uncomfortable light on food insecurity in the U.S. by projecting “malnutrition labels” onto iconic buildings in Los Angeles, New York and Baltimore that resembled often-overlooked food nutrition labels and included stats on deaths and hunger.

In 2020, the brand’s “Quaran-Tensions” campaign featured an ad showing a couple who dealt with homebound chaos by using the words “fruit cup” where they might otherwise use a cuss word.

Greg O’Neil, director of marketing for Dole Packaged Foods, in an interview with Ad Age said the change in tone reflects the recovery from the pandemic’s worst effects, while reversing the roles played in the ads by parents and children.

“In our ads over the past few years we cast the parents as the heroes, who had to make the important decisions for their school-age children. This campaign makes the children the heroes and their parents the foils.

“There is a push-pull dynamic between driving excitement with the kids, and confidence in the parents that they’re serving healthy, nutritious snacks to them,” he continued. “We are not top of mind enough to be the go-to snack for school-aged kids, but six in 10 parents say kids request fruit cups, and consumers want snacks that are fun to eat and add excitement to their daily diet.”

One spot features group of campers who are lost in the woods. A brave camper declares, "Hold my fruit bowl,” then calls for a hawk to give the crew directions back to safety, showing up an overly confident fellow camper and a befuddled troop leader. Another spot shows a daughter schooling her smug father in a contest of skipping rocks. After saying, “Hold my fruit bowl,” she hands her snack to her mom and effortlessly slings a stone all the way across the ocean, striking an artic ice fisherman.



Including moments that are “fantastical in nature” speaks to children, O’Neil said. “We want kids to say 'I love this product and want it in my lunch box,'” he said.

The campaign runs through March and includes an integrated digital and social media campaign. It was created by Erich and Kallman and directed by Harold Einstein of Dummy Films.