I think I’m the target audience for Triscuit’s Home Farming campaign ads. They keep popping up during my Food Network shows and in my Real Simple magazine. Or maybe they pop up everywhere, including places I wouldn’t see them like ESPN and car magazines, but I like to group myself in the foodie demographic and I hope marketers do too. Anyway, I wanted to learn more about the campaign and have since learned several things:
- Triscuit, a product of Kraft Foods, has teamed up with the non-profit Urban Farming to grow 50 community farms across the country.
- It has also launched a website encouraging consumers to plant their own gardens. The site includes instructions and tips for growing ingredients at home.
- Though Triscuit is contributing to a good cause, local gardening and sustainability, people have noticed that the corporation behind the campaign is potentially part of the reason the home gardening movement has grown so much over the years.
Counterproductive cracker campaign
This post by Laura Mathews on Punk Rock Gardens, a community gardening blog out of Pennsylvania, questions Triscuit’s and Kraft Foods’ motives. While the Home Farming campaign promotes home gardening and local eating, it is still being presented by Kraft Foods, a major producer of processed and prepackaged food. Mathews says Kraft is attempting to use this campaign to position its products as containing real ingredients, ignoring the fact that they’re really full of unnatural additives. She writes:
OK, it’s nice that a big company believes there a lot of interest in growing food. Enough interest, actually, that they want to grab on and join the gravy train. BUT, what I understand about the people who are taking back control of their food supply, is that they –we- became interested in growing food because we lost faith in the quality of food produced by companies like Kraft.
If you’re interested, read the rest of her post. It’s really good and it brings up a lot of great points.
The whole idea of large corporations launching campaigns attempting to solve problems they may have contributed to reminded me of this utterly fantastic clip from the Colbert Report in April (seriously, watch it if you have time- it’s great. Skip to 1:13 to get right to the campaign part). In it, Colbert discusses how people were questioning KFC’s Buckets for the Cure campaign.
During the campaign, KFC donated 50 cents for each pink bucket of chicken sold to the Susan G. Komen for the cure, the non-profit that raises money for breast cancer research. However, as Colbert mentions in the clip, many people were upset at the idea of promoting the sale and consumption of unhealthy fried chicken to raise money for an organization that is working to save women’s lives.
He has his own theory on what to do to remedy KFC’s potential hypocrisy. I have my own. KFC, Kraft and all other corporations and organizations should think about what their campaigns say about their brands before they launch them. And consumers should consider what matters most to them: that companies are helping to solve problems when their products cause other ones or that the companies are helping at all.
So what do you think? Should people just appreciate these corporate campaigns for the help they’re supplying others? Or should we question the motives (and profit) behind them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.