There is a food fight going on. And PR firm Ketchum is right in the middle of it. With the world in an uproar over GMO (genetically modified organism) foods vs. organic foods, some big money is being thrown around. And with big money being made in business can PR needs be far behind?
When Monsanto, the world’s largest seed company and one of the leading players in the biotechnology industry, decided to put some clout to its campaign in support of their GMO products, they turned to Ketchum (who represents many food clients out of their New York City office.). Ketchum then turned to the sometimes protected and removed world of academia to build its strategic approach for their client.
Ketchum and Monsanto contend they are merely gaining and distributing scientifically gained facts on the positives of GMO’s. But large financial grants given to universities such as the University of Florida to further research raise questions. As well as funds to top scientists in the field, such as Dr. Kevin Folta of the University of Florida, to travel and speak in favor of and promote GMO’s, including to Washington, DC.
Of course, money is also being spent on the organic food side, too, with Stonyfield Organic Farms, makers of organic yogurt, at the lead. Funds raised and paid from the organic side of the equation do not compare to the vast expenditures from GMO business.
Furthering its effort to promote GMO’s, Ketchum launched the recent website GMO Answers. The site is purported to be a vehicle for the public to gain access to so-called unbiased information on the question of safety of GMO’s. But there are serious questions about the authenticity or even the credibility of the information and answers on the site.
Ketchum was founded in 1919 in Pittsburgh originally as an advertising agency. In nearly 100 years of business, it’s grown, adapted, and rebranded to become one of the top global PR firms. They relocated their headquarters in 1999 to New York and currently have 100+ offices and affiliates in more than 70 countries with 2,400+ colleagues in Latin America, North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
Ketchum specializes in five practice areas – corporate communications, healthcare, brand marketing, food and nutrition, and technology. Other clients include Clorox, Hagen Daas, Barbie, Kleenex, Snapple and Kellogg’s.
According to their website, “We are storytellers, singers, dancers, authors, advisors, and counselors. Above all, we’re PR professionals, driven to go beyond the obvious solution.”
With money being spent to excess on both sides and with passions and emotions and laws at stake, it pays to consider, what are you really eating?