Organic food businesses recently created a clever PSA to inform consumers about the truth behind “natural” food products. The message is clear: “natural” foods may or may not actually be natural, due to relaxed policies regarding what constitutes natural food and a lack of enforcement by the FDA. So those “natural” snacks you’ve been eating may not be natural after all.
It’s no question that food labeled as natural will be perceived as more appealing due to the belief that it is healthier than other products. It can also make consumers feel better about their eating habits if they feel they are not eating processed foods. However, these “healthier” foods may only contain small amounts of natural ingredients combined with unnatural chemicals.
The PSA aims to make customers look closer before they buy foods claiming to be natural, explaining that foods that are labeled as USDA Organic are held to higher standards, ensuring that the food behind the label is actually natural.
The organic businesses behind the video likely recognized that, like advertisers, in order to get their message across, they had to do it in a way that would catch consumer attention, and not just by releasing mundane warnings to the public.
The video is a clever commentary on the way consumers perceive advertisers. It features an ad executive happily giving viewers a behind the scenes look at “The False Advertising Industry,” explaining the use of common advertising methods such as the before and after ads. He then goes on to explain the newly discovered and exciting method of getting consumers to buy products: labeling them as natural.
The viewer follows the executive as he travels through different departments in the office, such as the art department filled with employees adding the word natural to products to make it more appealing, and a room where all potential clients wishing to advertise their product as natural are approved. We then take a look into a client meeting where a product with essentially no natural ingredients is given the natural label, leading the client to excitedly celebrate the future of their not-so-natural product.
The PSA connects with viewers through depicting common conceptions of advertising agencies and connecting those to the truth behind the “natural” products that are advertised. While entertaining to watch, the message is important. There may not literally be fine print on the food you buy, but it doesn’t mean it’s safe.