Talk about a moonshot. We figured brands might try jumping onto the upcoming solar eclipse, probably with witty (if half-baked) social media references. But Chiquita is making an extra leap by taking complete credit for the eclipse, and dubbing it the Banana Sun.
The Great American Solar Eclipse will be visible to North Americans from Oregon to South Carolina on Aug. 21 on a stretch of land about 70 miles wide. Here, Chiquita made a handy map:
During this time, the moon will appear to completely cover the sun, darkening the daytime sky for a few breathless moments. Their alignment is an event that occurs about once every 18 months.
Chiquita’s campaign takes advantage of the seconds before and after the eclipse, when you see just a slim sliver of light as the moon slowly draws its shadow over Helios.
“On the path of totality, you will see two distinct banana suns,” the brand promises. “The total eclipse occurs in between the two banana suns as a sort of lackluster intermission.”
Just don’t look too closely—one, because it’s bad for your eyes, and two, because, well … you’re not actually going to see a Chiquita sticker on that bad-boy, are you? (From the brand: “We put one there with our imaginations.”)
The bizarre “Banana Sun” launch, created alongside Wieden + Kennedy, is part of the brand’s ongoing “We Are Bananas” campaign.
“We’ve always strived to move mountains with our work, but until now, moving the fifth-largest natural satellite in our solar system was simply a pipe dream,” says W+K creative Jarrod Higgins. “We’re so honored to celebrate this wondrous moment with banana devotees around the country free of charge.”
There is equally strange precedent for brands using celestial bodies to springboard recognition into hyperspace, and their level of tackiness usually rises with the ambition of the intent.
Some years ago, Japanese energy drink brand Otsuka touted plans to leave a powdered form of its Pocari Sweat beverage on the moon as a sponsored time capsule. Just this year, and with help from celebrity colonel Rob Lowe, KFC announced plans to launch a chicken sandwich into space. (It succeeded, with help from World View’s stratollite.)
Of course, Red Bull Stratos is the most lauded attempt among brands reaching for the stars. But Red Bull was pretty low-key about it, posting just three Facebook photos over the weekend of the event and letting stratosphere-jumper Felix Baumgartner take the starring role.
In Chiquita’s defense, it’s embracing the flagrant silliness of its claim.
“From debuting our iconic Blue Stickers in 1944 to introducing the world to Miss Chiquita, we’ve always aimed to drive Chiquita’s message of fun through vibrant and lighthearted visual storytelling,” says Andrew Biles, Chiquita Brands International’s president and CEO. “’We Are Bananas’ continues that tradition with new and exciting out-of-this-world creative for our fans.”
If you want to keep up with the Banana Sun (or even just watch the solar eclipse), TheBananaSun.com will be updated regularly through Aug. 21. The eclipse will be livestreamed on Facebook, and embedded on the website, in collaboration with Funny Or Die. The livestream kicks off at 9:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Aug. 21.
A series of web films will keep banana lovers busy in the weeks to come. To whet your appetite, here’s one that just went live yesterday:
On Aug. 14, a Chiquita chatbot on Facebook Messenger will be around to tell fans exactly what time the Banana Sun will be visible to them, based on their locations.
And on the eve of the event, a massive “Big Banana” out-of-home installation will be erected near the Flatiron Building in New York, and we can only hope it looks less phallic than its Sunset & Vine installment in Hollywood. Visitors to the Big Banana will also score banana-shaped eclipse-viewing glasses, enabling you to safely view the banana sun. Or just the solar eclipse overall.
For those who think the latter is the real event, and who are doing silly things like traveling to see it, Chiquita has this to say: “Just think of all the time and money you’ll save, and the logistical headaches you’ll avoid, by staying away from the (totally overrated) totality. The far greater banana sun phenomenon is visible to everyone in North America. We planned it that way!”
In the event you miss it, Chiquita promises a rescheduling for June 10, 2021.