For many people, vegetables probably don’t immediately spring to mind as humourous. Luckily for us, Brandmaster found the subject so funny it set about creating an entire brand around it.
Violent Veg was created in 2004 and, five years on, is now a part of the Carte Blanche Group, where it is one of the most popular licences within the greetings card and gift industries.
“Whilst the management has changed, the intent has not,” says the brand manager for Violent Veg, Shelley Trueman, “to keep Violent Veg doing what it does best – making people laugh through the medium of vegetables.”
There are currently 15 carefully selected licensees, with the brand now being found on calendars, diaries, greetings cards, books, cakes and baked snacks, stationery, posters, golf club covers and air fresheners, as well as a large range of gift items.
“Cards continue to be the most popular products for Violent Veg, showing us that the public has an ever growing appetite for our unique brand of vegetable humour,” Trueman continues. “Calendars are also a very successful line. Next in our plans for Violent Veg is the development of homeware and garden products. With direct links to the growing and cooking of vegetables, these categories promise to be a perfect fit with Violent Veg.”
The ideas for the puns which appear alongside the vegetables come from a collective of writers and artists, whose identities Trueman prefers to keep under wraps.
“Their ideas can come from anywhere,” she says. “From a random overheard conversation, from the daily news or even from writing the weekly shopping list. The team produce the entire gag – from the first idea, through to the set build and photography. We are lucky to have a full function team in-house as it allows us a quick response to topical issues, emerging trends or major sporting events.”
Retail support for the brand has been good, too. “Violent Veg cards have been sprouting up everywhere and can be found in leading High Street retailers, independent card shops and some of the main grocers. We are always on the look out for new ways to grow the brand, explore new opportunities and increase distribution.”
The brand also has to contend with challenges which probably don’t affect your more traditional entertainment licences. “Occasionally, the gag team will encounter the vegetable equivalent to writer’s block, veggie rot,” says Trueman. “Every now and then, they’ll write a gag that’s just too rude, but thankfully the management are on hand to provide censorship. The sets can take a long time to build and once photography is underway, it’s important to get the right shot quickly… before the fruit or veg becomes too battered or starts to go off!”
Trueman is confident about the future of the brand, however. “Violent Veg has a bright future. As we evolve the brand, expand into new product categories and continue to launch fresh, topical and hilarious new gags, we can be sure to retain our existing fan base, whilst attracting first time customers along the way.
“These are exciting times in the creative greenhouse of Violent Veg.”