Scott Aughtmon is a writer, business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist and speaker. In an article published on, he explains how the character, Popeye, has become the emblem of accidental content marketing.

Popeye gave the urge to eat spinach

Created in 1929 by the American Elzie Crisler Segar, Popeye has been a favorite for several generations. The character has the characteristic superhuman strength when eating spinach. Moreover, he uses and abuses this vegetable champion in vitamins and iron to get out of delicate, but humorous, situations. The first time Popeye made his appearance, America was in a state of depression.

Amazingly told by the author, watching old episodes of Popeye has given him the urge to eat spinach. Better still, after a few searches, he realized that he was not the only one to have craved spinach after watching an episode of this old cartoon.

Sales of spinach increased by 33% across the United States

This phenomenon is intriguing enough to take a close look at it. We soon learned that sales of spinach had increased by 33%, while the whole of America suffered from a crisis. Aware that Popeye was no stranger to this impact, Crystal City in Texas, and Alma in Arkansas, each erected a statue of the sailor. These two communities are specialists in the cultivation of spinach.

Even more incredibly, the Popeye image continues to work for this vegetable today, as sales are still going strong, and companies are surfing the tidal wave of popularity. The cannery, Allen Canning, produces and decorates its canned spinach with the image of Popeye. Another example is Pope Fresh Foods, whose fresh spinach bags feature the photo of the pipe-toting sailor.

Is it a coincidence, or a disguised attempt to manipulate consumers?

Faced with such a situation, it is wondered in some circles whether the increasing consumption of Popeye spinach is not a perfectly timed marketing blow. Surprising as it may seem, it is not, and the character was not created by the spinach industry. It was not created either to help sell spinach. In fact, the tinned sustenance was chosen a little by chance, perhaps because it is a source of vitamins and iron. Finally, it can be plainly seen that the fall in prices of spinach at the time did not in any way favor the economic crisis of 1929.

Popeye had an accidental but happy impact on the spinach industry

Since his appearance, Popeye has increased the popularity and sales of spinach in the United States, albeit, not intentionally. Nevertheless, the phenomenon exists, and it is explainable. It is not a matter of advertising, but of content.

The creators of Popeye have created extraordinary content, in which spinach restores strength in every episode. Without knowing it, they accidentally generated entertaining content, a particularly powerful element in content marketing.

How to create content marketing that impacts your niche?

Content marketing is a powerful tool used to reach a specific market. In order to benefit from its effectiveness, several essential factors must be taken into account:

  • Quality of Content
  • Its innovative and entertaining character
  • Its self-sufficiency
  • The subtlety of the message when it comes to selling your product or service

Quality of Content

By leveraging quality when you create your content, you allow it to self-sustain.

Innovative and entertaining content

Your content should attract and entertain your targets. Take the time to create something new, which has never been seen before.

Sell, but subtly

Many marketers prefer the product or service to sell, to the detriment of the entertaining facet. But entertainment is essential, even more so than marketing. Balance your content subtly, as has been the case with Popeye and his spinach.

Entertainment giants practice this form of content marketing

Did you know that Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Universal Vivendi, Time Warner, Bertelsmann, and Sony are all practicing this subtle form of content marketing? Moreover, we are talking about 7 rules of content marketing. It is by privileging their audience, but also their content, that these magnates of entertainment place their products, all smoothly.

Communication leaders diversify the channels through which they broadcast their content, as well as the format of the content. To quote the example of Viacom, it was thanks to exceptionally effective content marketing that the company managed to take advantage of Howard Stern.

Viacom and Howard Stern

  • Howard Stern’s audio program features 50 Infinity radio stations owned by Viacom
  • The Howard Stern television show is broadcast weekly on a channel owned by Viacom, CBS
  • The autobiography of the self-proclaimed “King of all Media” was published by Simon and Schuster, owned by Viacom,
  • Paramount Pictures, owned by Viacom, produced the film based on this autobiography,
  • The DVD of the film is distributed by Blockbuster Video, a subsidiary of Viacom

How to make your content entertaining?

Since it is a question of privileging its audience and its contents, Scott Aughtmon drew up a list. It includes the types of content that are generally the focus of consumers. This content must be calibrated for:

  • Push to enjoy life, remember that nothing is impossible
  • Make us want to surpass ourselves, remember that every person counts
  • Emphasize the importance of forgotten or neglected elementary notions
  • Tell a story and that ends unexpectedly
  • Make people dream, and encourage them to take action
  • Make them laugh or smile in surprise; provoke tears of sadness or joy
  • Reveal secrets; encourage; remember that each is unique in its own way
  • Say that there is always better; confirm our aspirations; challenge them
  • Educate through entertainment
  • Show that the physically weaker can beat the stronger
  • To give an innovative perspective on banal things

Take into account any of the above, and your content will be quality, self-sufficient, entertaining and innovative.


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