Animal Ag Watch Opinion Editorial By Hannah Thompson, Meatingplace
When you’ve created an organic foods marketing campaign that offends even organic farmers, you know you’ve crossed a few lines.
Only Organic, a coalition of organic food brands including Organic Valley, Stonyfield, and Annie’s Homegrown, recently launched the “New MacDonald” movement, a campaign encouraging consumers to take a pledge to add one additional organic product to their grocery cart each week.
The campaign’s big kickoff was this video, in which schoolchildren give a rousing rendition of Old MacDonald’s Farm, except in this version the song has refrains such as: “with a hormone here and a hormone there”, “a small cage here and a tight cage there”, “here a spray [of pesticides], there a spray, everywhere a spray spray”.
As if the misleading selling tactics in the video weren’t enough, the controversy surrounding the campaign among farmers (and fans of science-based decision-making) came to a head last week with the “#NewMacDonald” Twitter chat, held on Wednesday evening.
In agriculture, sometimes we can be a house divided, especially when it comes to marketing our products. When the only competitive differentiation in a commodity is how it was produced, it’s nearly impossible to herald its benefits without disparaging your neighbor’s different production methods. For this reason, I expected conventional farmers to be up-in-arms about the New MacDonald campaign, while organic farmers perhaps quietly thought the messaging went too far but wouldn’t make a public fuss – after all, the end goal of the campaign is to drive demand for their products.
I couldn’t have been more wrong – and I am so glad I was.
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