MUST-SHARE Video: The Organic Industry Rolls out its First Advertising Campaign – The Natural Effect

Written by Max Goldberg on February 13, 2014. Follow Max on Twitter: @livingmaxwell.

(When I come across a meaningful video, I’ll usually write MUST-WATCH.  Please read below why I wrote MUST-SHARE.)

A very, very important advertising campaign called Only Organic has recently been launched by Organic Voices, a non-profit backed by some of the biggest names in the industry including Stonyfield, Nature’s Path, Annie’s and many others.

While educated organic consumers will watch this video and get a laugh, the reality is that this is no laughing matter. Why?

Because far too many people believe that “natural” is actually better than “organic”, and a majority of Americans continue to put “natural” products into their bodies, thinking that they don’t contain super-toxic pesticides, artificial ingredients, and genetically-modified organisms. More often than not, “natural” products contain all of these things.

According to the USDA’s website, this is what “natural” means.

As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

Did you see that last line?  There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.

As a result, “natural” has become the most abused marketing term in the food world and consumers have been unfairly manipulated.

With the government unwilling to step in and correct the situation, lawyers have gotten involved and filed class action lawsuit against companies such as Naked Juice and Kashi for misleadingly using the word “natural” on their labels.

As I wrote about in 2011 when I attended an Expo West panel discussion by Alex Bogusky, one of the biggest creative stars in the advertising industry, he said that he would attack the credibility of “natural” in order to bolster “organic”. Fortunately for us, the people behind Only Organic got Alex Bogusky involved and what we have is a very smart and savvy advertising campaign for organic.

Now, it is up to every single one of us to share this video with as many people as we can, so the general population understands that “natural” means pretty much nothing.

With “organic”, consumers are getting a product that has strict standards and enforcement by the USDA, and the use of toxic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial ingredients, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) are prohibited.

I urge you to share the link to this video on Facebook and help expose the truth about “natural” to as many people as you can.

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9 Comments

  1. […] The Organic Industry Rolls out its First Advertising Campaign – The Natural Effect by Max Goldberg on February 13, […]

  2. with all due respect, I do not like the ad campaign video in the least bit. Not impressed and would not want my customers to view this. As a natural foods store owner, explaining the value of organic is important but there has to be a much more professional way than this. I give the organic industry a big zero on this ad video. The guy is a big goof ball. This is suppose to impress and educate someone? Why can’t they come up with a 60 sec ad that gets the point across professionally.

    Rick

    Written by Rick on February 13, 2014 @ 10:58 pm
  3. I think this video is great! I am so happy to see the Organic Food Industry finally getting into the game with regards to the world of marketing. We (people interested in organic food/products who truly understand why one should eat organic) might be ok with a 60 second ad that seems professional but if you want to reach the masses it’s going to take more than that. You need something people are going to find humorous and bring light to one small idea- in this case it’s that the word “natural” doesn’t really mean anything when plastered on a food product.

    If you think of what most people like it’s sort of goofball comedy like Anchorman. I am not really a fan of that type of comedy but it seems to appeal to the masses and I think this “goof ball” guy in the ad campaign might as well.

    Written by Heather on February 14, 2014 @ 10:49 am
  4. Thanks for the heads up Max, this is why I follow your blog – you keep your readers informed and motivated for change!

    I wrote up a little post about the videos on our blog and gave you a shout out: http://www.antidotejuicery.com/blog/2014/2/14/usda-organic-runs-ads-on-youtube

    Written by Shay on February 14, 2014 @ 11:26 pm
  5. @Rick – I like the advertising campaign and it was created by an award-winning industry pro. The idea was to completely discredit “natural”, which it did. The reality is that advertising can’t be boring. It has to capture people’s attention and move them emotionally. This one didn’t work for you but it did for nearly everyone else.

    Written by Max Goldberg on February 17, 2014 @ 6:30 pm
  6. I am disgusted by the whole marketing industry for dumming down society and creating sheeple. It is sheeple that need these campaigns to sway them this way then that…a tool to squeeze a bit more money outta the hands of hard working people. Intelligent people skip this brainwashing and find out and determine for themselves what is best for them.
    You think a sixty second add will give enough (strait/ non bias) information to make an informed decision? Absolutely ludicrous!…to the point of mocking.

    Don’t satisfy for organic labeling. We need to be ecologically sustainable. Forget business as usual with all this banter, bickering and subterfuge. We need to stop/ refuse/ boycott industrial/ commercial agriculture and go local… no matter what the name/ method. Give back farmers the freedom to grow as they please. Let their customers decide what they want from their food producers, face to face. Who cares how it was grown if it has to travel ten thousand miles.

    Written by Carey Ma on February 18, 2014 @ 8:07 am
  7. If this mis-labeling didn’t have such dangerous effects, I might agree that it’s a bit too goofy. However I think it will succeed with its target audience, many of whom are struggling to understand what natural means and how it can be used in labeling. It may seem dumbed down but too much collateral food industry messaging or technical info overwhemls people just coming to this conversation .
    Thank you Max, I will post the link on the next MyFoodMyHealth newsletter.

    Written by Caroline Nation on February 19, 2014 @ 10:51 am
  8. […] What makes this even more challenging, however, is that the organic industry is heavily focused on changing the public’s perception that “Natural” is better than “Organic”, as evidenced by the recent advertising campaign The Natural Effect. […]

    Pingback by Is Non-GMO Better Than Organic? on April 10, 2014 @ 11:07 am
  9. FYI. Video doesn’t work on Facebook via an iPad.

    Written by Steve on April 24, 2014 @ 11:01 pm

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