‘New MacDonald’ alienates the whole barnyard


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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Source:  Meatingplace.com

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