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As someone who gets paid to write words that generate sales, I strongly believe in the power of contrast marketing.

This is essentially where you take one thing, and contrast it to something that is its polar opposite.

You dramatize the extreme “black and white” differences between one thing and another thing.

In my new marketing guide, I revealed that one of the top 3 mistakes Whole Foods made in their recent campaign was failing to use contrast marketing (mistake #2).

I gave a graphic example of how Whole Foods could highlight the differences between unhappy chickens versus happy chickens…and capitalize on those differences in order to sell more organic chicken or egg products.

Lo and behold, today I came across a viral video doing that very thing…but ironically, it was attacking Whole Foods!

The animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) posted a shocking YouTube video containing footage that looks like it came from the conventional farm from hell.

Summarizing the video, NewHope writes:

“The DxE team reportedly climbed over the barbed wire at Petaluma Farms in rural Sonoma County on 10 nighttime visits and came away with footage of several distressed chickens, including one that they nursed back to health with the aid of a Berkeley veterinarian. Inspected and approved by Virginia-based Certified Humane, Petaluma Farms supplies eggs to Whole Foods Market.”

The video is hard to watch. I forced myself to spend 19 minutes watching it. Even though I’m not vegan, I cried, feeling the pain of the animals.

DxE is using the video to communicate a strong message: to show the world Whole Foods is deceiving its customers — by supplying inhumanely produced food, while marketing it as “humane.”

It attacks Whole Foods’ entire premise that farm animals can be humanely raised at all.

That’s one hell of a viewpoint!

Now, whether you agree with veganism or not, isn’t the point.

Whether you think the video is propaganda, doesn’t matter.

It’s a stunning example of contrast marketing that got everybody talking.

It even got the New York Times asking questions about the overall state of ‘certified humane’ farms.

A balanced rebuttal to the video appears here. A representative from Petaluma Farms says the video is “extremely selective” and misleading, painting a distorted picture of reality…while serving DxE’s obvious agenda (which is probably to turn everyone on the planet into vegans).

In my opinion, Whole Foods is the wrong target of this attack.

WHOLE FOODS should be the one using this kind of courageous, expose-type contrast marketing to bring awareness to what needs to change — not just on farms, but in all areas of food production.

Instead, they’re the ones getting criticized…probably because one of their suppliers made a mistake.

As NewHope writes: “Nobody can expect American culture to give up meat, and what Whole Foods Market has done with its humane treatment standards is a step in the right direction that absolutists would do well to recognize. All-or-nothing attitudes allow little room for progress.”

The only problem is that “all or nothing attitudes” are what get people’s attention.

DxE’s hard-to-watch video didn’t turn me vegan…but it DID confirm to me the power of contrast marketing.

It will certainly make me think twice before knowingly consuming meat that I know for sure was not humanely produced.

Just imagine how powerful a piece of contrast marketing would be, if it were aimed at the RIGHT target!

Talk soon,
Michelle Lopez

P.S. Download my FREE marketing guide for organic product companies: “3 Costly Mistakes Whole Foods Made in Their ‘Values Matter’ Campaign.”

About the Author

Michelle Lopez is a writer, editor, and copywriter with a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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