Runners from around the world descended upon Tokyo over the weekend to compete in the annual Tokyo Marathon. As usual, Dole tried to promote the banana, favored for its portability and high source of nutrients like potassium and magnesium, as the official fruit of running. But this year saw another competitor: the tomato.
“Tomatoes are excellent with sports but we do not see that any athletes eat tomatoes at sports events,” notes Shigenori Suzuki, a PhD scientist at Kagome, the Japanese producer of Tomato-based products. They realized that there’s one thing that bananas have that tomatoes don’t: “Tomatoes do not have mobility.”
So the company partnered with Maywa Denki, the wonderfully whimsical art duo who create all sorts of gizmos. The tongue-in-cheek production resulted in Tomatan, a tomato-shaped robot that sits on your shoulders and feeds you tomatoes as you run.
The ad campaign, which stars Dr. Suzuki, was clearly satirical and created merely to remind people that tomatoes are a great source of lycopene and other nutrients. The commercial even pokes fun at its own absurdity at the end when it shows a female jogger take out a small canister of baby tomatoes she had been carrying with her.