Celebrity endorsements, farming in advertising, and getting it right — a LIVE! with Michelle "The Farm Babe" Miller


When Burger King launched a lemongrass and methane-filled advertisement that grossly misrepresented farming, Michelle Miller was having none of it.

So, the farmer and speaker from Iowa who goes by “The Farm Babe” contacted Burger King and invited them out to her farm. The result was a new commercial and a new conversation about sustainability in agriculture. Watch below for Miller’s take on how it all happened, why speaking up matters, and more.

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  • Let’s start with how The Farm Babe came to be (including a shout out to “Banned by the Food Babe” people)
  • Blog started six years ago, and she’s still writing, speaking, and farming, of course
  • Then this summer Burger King released it’s new ad campaign about how farming and cows were destroying the planet, complete with kids in gas masks
  • Miller sent a tweet to the chief marketing officer, and their PR people reached out to her to talk
  • Then, they came out to the farm in Iowa with cameras to film another commercial
  • Miller toured them through a dairy farm with a methane digester, a feedlot, and her own farm, showing them how cattle are raised, how the fields are managed, and how sustainability fits in modern farms
  • Ended up bringing a camera crew with them and doing a new commercial
  • Lemongrass to cattle? Even the scientists doing the work were a little annoyed at the claims, seeing as the work wasn’t even peer-reviewed yet
  • Where do they plan on sourcing that much lemongrass, anyways?
  • Burger King people were surprised by the recycling that happens on farms!
  • She made them feed the cows, even
  • Traceability and knowledge of the value system is lacking on many fronts. Do farmers always know where their product goes? Not really, so can we fault a company for not knowing either?
  • Culver’s in her area sends care packages to their farmers and is donating money to 4-H and FFA. That’s positive, good news, and that gets lots of attention on social media
  • You can get tonnes of mileage out of good news, too, you know! And she has made that point to the Burger King crew
  • No one was rude, which was great. They were proud of the commercial, at the time
  • Who’s the money and brains behind some of the campaigns? You need to ask sometimes.
  • What about farmer who choose to do it differently? Good! Make room for everyone without throwing people under the proverbial bus
  • Do we need celebrity endorsements? Maybe let’s get The Rock
  • When’s the last time that an actual farmer was doing the morning shows or news circuit? Get more farmers involved in the discussion on a big scale, in mainstream media, please, she says

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