Some of the most famous and effective advertising campaigns ever made came from the soft drink industry. I remember Coke’s “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” jingle, which debuted in 1971. A modified version of it became the song “I’d like to teach the world to sing (in perfect harmony)”, which was recorded by The New Seekers and became a top 10 hit. Interestingly, the Coke version, sung by the group who recorded it for the commercial, ended up on the charts at the same time, making it to number 13. The ‘70s equivalent of a viral video!
The inspiration behind creating that jingle-turned-song at Coke’s head office probably came from Pepsi, which had it’s own song at the time, “The Pepsi Generation”. And it was working well, promoting that brand.
So why bother wasting any time in my day thinking about corporate slogans and their effectiveness? Well, the reason is I’ve been seeing a lot of discussion recently about today’s farming practices and their acceptance—or lack thereof—by the consuming public.
The recent California court ruling that slapped a couple of hundred million dollar punitive judgement against Monsanto regarding a claim Roundup gave someone cancer got me thinking about advertising, and its power to influence public sentiment. With the hundreds of other similar cases apparently waiting for trial, that court ruling is likely to gain momentum. All of that could sideswipe producers in in the process.
Glyphosate is so integral to modern farming losing it would be a nightmare for almost every producer.
The main criticism of the jury’s decision is that it ignored the available science and came up with a verdict based on emotion instead. I can’t confirm that, of course, and I’m not a scientist. So probably like you I’m left to listen to the many experts, most of whom say when properly used Glyphosate poses no unacceptable risk.
Reaching an emotional decision isn’t really an unheard of thing for a jury to do. The reality is, so many of the decisions most people make in their day-to-day lives are based on emotion. Lately, political analysts have been talking about that fact a lot because of recent, unexpected election results in many places around the world.
So here’s an idea. We need to get the general public to love farmers again, just they way they’ve come to love off-the-wall politicians displaying few—if any—redeeming qualities. More importantly, we need people to love what farmers do and how they do it. And if all it takes is appealing to emotions, then we just need to come up with a catchy jingle and video full of lovable-looking people, just like Coke and Pepsi did. Right?
After all if society as a whole made its collective decisions based on Vulcan-like logic, would Doug Ford be premier of Ontario?
So there must be at least one chemical company willing to sponsor a TV commercial we farmers could make that just borrows that successful Coke jingle, but we’ll modify the words to this:
“I’d like to grow the world some wheat
And furnish it with bread
Grow giant fields of healthy crops
And save the world from dread
I’d like to teach the world to sing
In perfect harmony
I’d like to bake the world some bread
And keep it company
That’s the real thing
What the world wants today
It’s the real thing”
It made millions of people think Coke was the “real thing”. We ought to be able to convince people our food is the real thing too.
Imagine it. Just like that old Coke commercial. Dozens of farmers standing on a hilltop holding loaves of bread (with a bunch of high-clearance sprayers in the background) singing my new and improved lyrics. How could we not win the hearts and minds of vegans everywhere?
I smell a Juno Award!