Michael Gray on Long Island notes that a Google search for “spinach” produces not one crafted public relations effort, despite almost a week of breaking news about e-coli contaminations of spinach, advisories to destroy purchased bagged spinach, and concern about the image of organic foods and farmers following this public health threat. A “spinach” query produces ads for buying spinach, ads for news on the spinach problem which don’t actually go to news about the spinach problem, and an ad from Dole for “the latest on packaged spinach” which, sadly, also doesn’t go directly to the proper landing page but the home page, where a box that promises information on “Dole bagged spinach” competes with a Flash animation (with music) or the goodness of vegetables and fruits, and a talking , animated Curious George. Michael does a good job of explaining his findings on ThreadWatch, the search marketing blog.
I would add that there is not one competitor ad either. I would like to see “Afraid of Spinach? Try Kale” from the Kale Marketers Cooperative, or perhaps “Thought Organic was Clean? Think Again.” from the GMO industry. Why not? With all those searches for “spinach” following the news, why not utilize the opportunity for public education?
As of today, the one organic farm most damaged by the early press coverage, states on it’s web site that not only has nothing from their farm been identified as contaminated, but that every instance of contamination checked by the FDA so far has been non-organic spinach:
At this point in the investigation, all of the manufacturing codes taken from spinach packaging retained by patients are from packages of conventional (non-organic) spinach.
Wow. You’d think they’d spend a few bucks on ads like “Contaminated spinach not organic” or something.
Maybe the California Raisin people could buy ads for “Raisin’s have more iron than Spinach“, because some portion of spinach lovers erroneously attribute iron to spinach (it has some, but not really all that much). Or how about “Dirty Spinach? It’s probably from Mexico” from the Minute Men Civil Defense Corps. They would all work.