“I’m going to show you some branded content… it’s a long commercial that tells a story.” These were the words from my advertising professor.
Yesterday morning in my advertising class, with the preface above, our professor proceeded to show us commercials from Chipotle. You may have seen these commercials before, as they caused uproar from the ag community when they first came out.
As our lecture hall of 150 students watched this advertising, I sat in the second row of the class with 2 of my fellow ag comm majors. The 3 of us sat there, disgusted, horrified, annoyed, and complaining to each other about how false the information being portrayed was and how awful it was that our entire lecture hall was being exposed to this deceitful view of agriculture. The tension and frustration only increased as our professor showed not just one, but two of these commercials.
One of the things we learned about earlier in the semester was the federal regulation of false advertising. Not only is false advertising illegal, it’s immoral. These Chipotle commercials are completely misrepresenting modern agriculture. I have absolutely no problem with a company promoting its organic and natural foods, but if they had good advertising they could do that without making modern farmers look like an enemy.
This incident in my advertising class showed me many things. It illustrated how powerful advertising can be, whether it’s accurate or not. In my opinion, it not only showed us an example of branded content, but also an example of false advertising made by a company who is only concerned about selling their product and isn’t concerned about honesty or integrity in their advertising. Finally, I was reminded of why I am majoring in agricultural communications. Agriculture needs to have a voice. We need to have content to combat this false advertising. We need people to tell consumers the truth about what we do. If I ever work with the advertising industry, I want to be able to uphold integrity and honesty in the projects that I work on and not degrade another industry to promote my company.
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