While scrolling through Facebook, I saw an ad from Stonyfield. In this ad, Stonyfield posed a question. The ad asks, “What are GMOs?” To whom did they pose this question, you might be wondering. Did they ask scientists? Did they ask farmers? Did they ask someone whose age at least allows them to operate a motor vehicle? Nah. Instead, Stonyfield asked… children. Young girls, to be more precise.
“That sounds monstrous,” the first girl says. And then we proceed to hear about fish genes and tomatoes, and then I throw my phone across the room… (I didn’t, but I wanted to, because I had reached a maximum level of cringey anger.) “Are you kidding me,” a third girl says. And I wish they were kidding. I wish that Stonyfield was just trolling us here, because the final comment in the video (again, spoken by a young girl) just brings it all home: “I think it’s better if we, like, get informed of it, before we, like, eat it.” Oh, Stonyfield, I couldn't agree more with the idea of "getting informed," but I think we clearly disagree on what "informed" means.
Stonyfield asked what GMOs are. But I’ve got some questions for Stonyfield, namely, “how did this ad manage to get made” and “do you actually feel good about using children as part of a fear-based marketing campaign?” If you want to talk about GMOs, awesome. Find experts (and there’s no shortage of folks who can talk on genetic modification and biotechnology) to define the term. But do not use children. Don’t use children to perpetuate these myths and further demonize biotechnology, all in the name of selling your yogurt pouches.
If anyone from Stonyfield stumbles upon this post, please take a minute and reflect on your marketing tactics. I’m not going to pull the whole “you lost a customer from this” thing, because I wasn’t buying your products as it is. This ad was just the kind of thing that made me become a momentary keyboard warrior, because it’s simply beyond the pale.
And to anyone who’s reading this who chimed in on Stonyfield’s Facebook share of the video: you are the internet heroes we need. Thanks for standing for science and reason.