Perdue is launching a new national television ad campaign that focuses on the slogan "We Believe in a Better Chicken." In the TV spots, the viewers can go behind the scenes of Perdue farms. "We know that today's consumers are interested in learning more about the food they eat. They want to know how the chicken was raised and what it was fed," said Jim Perdue, Chairman of Perdue Farms. "At Perdue, we are proud of associates, our practices for raising chickens and our products, and we want consumers to learn more about us."The commercials claim the following:
- The chickens are fed an all-vegetarian diet including corn, soybeans and marigolds
- The diet has no animal byproducts or animal fat
- The chickens are always raised cage-free
- The chickens are never fed steroids or hormones
Sound like marketing hype? Marion Nestle thinks so. She told the New York Times that the Perdue campaign is not about safety or health, and the commercials say nothing whether the chickens are fed antibiotics. "It's hard not to be sarcastic about all this," she said. Also not mentioned is anything regarding treatment or slaughter practices [pdf].
The decision to focus a campaign around quality does show a shift for the brand. In an era when people are growing more skeptical about factory-farmed chicken, large companies have to find a way to satisfy consumers' demands and questions. It remains to be seen whether Perdue is capable of doing so.