Image by artis Lee Romao
Image by artist Lee Romao

I don’t know why, but for some reason I loved Popeye cartoons when I was a kid.

They used to play old reruns of them on the local UHF channel where I lived.
(I know! With that reference I’m dating myself!)

I used to love watching episode after episode each day after school.

Ones like the episode below…

I loved many things about the cartoon.

I loved the characters. I loved the crazy scenarios Popeye would go through.

But one of the things I loved the most was how Popeye would always – at the very last moment – save the day by busting out a can of spinach.

It made me want to eat spinach.

What I didn’t know until just recently was that I wasn’t the only person who wanted to eat spinach because of Popeye.

In fact, Popeye is a powerful example of accidental content marketing.

What do I mean?

Popeye’s Accidental Impact On The Spinach Industry

I recently found out that Popeye was so popular spinach sales went up 33% – and this was during the depression!!

Just so you know, that sales increase wasn’t just a coincidence either.

The spinach-growing community of Crystal City, Texas was so appreciative of the impact he had on their industry that they erected a statue of Popeye in recognition of the cartoon’s positive effects on the spinach industry.

But that’s not all.

In Alma, Arkansas (which claims to be “The Spinach Capital of the World,”) there is another statue of Popeye.

It was obvious to all involved in that industry that Popeye had a major impact on their industry.

The crazy thing is that the power of this accidental content marketing is STILL working to help spinach sales today.

The Allen Canning canning company sells a Popeye-branded canned spinach and Pope Fresh Foods markets bagged fresh spinach with Popeye right on the package.

The Key To Powerful Content Marketing

The spinach industry didn’t create Popeye.

E.C. Segar did and Max and Dave Fleischer made him famous.

Popeye wasn’t created to sell spinach.

Spinach was just chosen because it had iron and vitamins.

But none of this takes away from this fact.

It wasn’t “discounted offers” that caused spinach sales to increase in the depression.

It wasn’t advertising.


Great, entertaining content that featured spinach as the main “side-kick” to the star of each episode.

Great, entertaining content is still the key to powerful content marketing.

In the same way that this content was accidentally able impact one industry, you could purposely create content marketing to do the same in your niche.

Two Important Lessons

If you want to create content marketing that could impact your niche, then you must remember two important things:

1. Create content that is of such great quality that it can stand on its own.

Don’t be in a hurry to create any old content. Make sure your content is something people will want to consume and enjoy consuming.

2. Don’t try to blatantly sell your product/service with your content.

Include your product/service, but make sure your content is entertaining and helpful to the reader, not just helpful for your sales.

Too many content marketers focus too much on the marketing and not enough on the content.

But since the creators of Popeye never intended to create content marketing for spinach, they automatically followed these rules.

Do the same thing: always focus on the content and audience.

The 7 Media Giants Use This Method

If you don’t think this can really be applied to businesses, you’d be wrong.

In fact, all of the top 7 media giants STILL use a very similar method to promote their products, stars, music, and movies.

If you’d like to learn about how they use this method, then you should check out a post I wrote in the past for

It’s called “Content Marketing Strategies of the 7 Media Giants“.

It reveals how Disney, Viacom, Sony and others are using this method right under our noses and we don’t even know it!

Click here to read it now.

Source: All information about the impact Popeye had on the spinach industry is from Wikipedia.

If you would like to learn how to create interesting and engaging content, then check out my webinar recording called…

“21 Types of Content We Crave”

“If you are involved in content creation in any way, 21 Types of Content We Crave is for you. It not only shows you what works, but why. In just a short time this webinar will help anyone learn to break through all the other noise and “content clutter” out there by creating powerful stories that people remember and want to share.”

– Joe Basques, Vice President Footwasher Media / Co-host “The Power of Story”

Click here to learn more about my
“21 Types of Content We Crave” webinar recording.

Read more: Content Marketing In The Era Of “Fake News”