In the boardrooms of Madison Avenue, they call it “values branding”: a marketing strategy in which a company tries to instill a feeling of righteousness in the customers who buy its products.
But what kind of values would inspire a corporation to wage a smear campaign against America’s farmers?
That’s the question I asked after learning about the latest ploy of Chipotle Mexican Grill: a series of four 30-minute videos, scheduled to debut next week on Hulu, the online television service. Called “Farmed and Dangerous,” it is, in the words of the New York Times, “a full-throated attack on ‘industrial agriculture,’ complete with a Dr. Strangelove-like scientist inventing eight-winged chickens.” Apparently the show also features exploding cows.
Maybe it’s funny, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Like a Super Bowl commercial with a laugh-out-loud gag, however, the point is not simply to earn a chuckle. Chipotle wants to boost its sales. “Farmed and Dangerous” is an expensive scheme to suggest that the act of buying burritos and tacos at Chipotle is morally superior to the act of buying them elsewhere."
I don't consider myself very dangerous but I am fully farmed! This latest debate from Chipotle is stirring an uneasy feeling in my fellow farmers.
Personally, I don't see Chipotle's efforts acting morally superior to other brands. However, their marketing scheme is making people think and that makes many people uneasy.
The average farmer bought into GMO's, hook, line and sinker. However, some of us did not. That causes uneasiness right there.
Round Up Ready was an easy way to kill weeds. Bacillus Thurengensis or Bt traits enabled thousands of farmers to control European Corn Borer without insecticide. Those events have failed in a very short time, yet they are still the easiest products to purchase or use, even if they don't work as well as they first did.
We might be at a turning point again as to what is the most cost effective way to raise a crop. Many farmers are turning back to non GMO seed and chemicals they used before the traits came out.
Chipotle might be reminding us where we were 20 years ago and we might be back there again.
That causes an uneasy feeling in many people.