According to Hoosier Ag’s Gary Truitt, it might not pay very well to be a critic of agriculture. At least not if you’ve been engaging in smear campaigns, deceptive advertising, and selling fear.
Chipotle, the poster child of hating on farmers, produced an animated commercial and an online mini-series aimed at selling fear to consumers. It seems like every time you look, the chain fast food restaurant is spewing some garbage about GMOs and conventional agriculture.
But Chipotle’s fun and games at the expense of agriculture may be coming to an end:
Chipotle’s stock shares have fallen 7% to $495.92. In addition, last Thursday 77% of shareholders voted against the company’s executive pay plan. The result will prompt a full review of how much Chipotle pays its top executives and how its compensation packages are structured. Last year, Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells’ total compensation was $25.1 million, while his counterpart, co-CEO Monty Moran, received $24.4 million. The company’s chief financial officer took in $9.9 million, and the chief marketing officer got $5.9 million. Wall Street analysts say Chipotle’s top management earn 5 times more than top execs in other similar restaurant chains.
And what about Chipotle’s buddy-o-fear Panera’s fates? Remember, Panera’s marketing plan last year was to tell consumers that farmers are lazy because we have to treat our sick animals with antibiotics. Panera’s television commercials still include a line about their meat not containing antibiotics.
They’re also not going to so well:
But here, too, the financial news has not been good. Panera Bread’s first-quarter results disappointed investors, especially when it announced that same-store sales rose only 0.1% systemwide. Panera has seen their shares fall almost 12% in the past year.
On the flip side, McDonald’s, which has had a much better relationship with the agriculture community (at least, it’s produced this commercial and this commercial) seems to be doing very well. Stock prices are up over 7%. Truitt also notes that Ram truck sales are up over 17% since they released their Super Bowl commercial “So God Made A Farmer.”
Of course, as Truitt also points out, none of this may have anything to do with Chipotle and Panera’s poor marketing choices. We know correlation does not equal causation. But it sure make me feel as though we’ve been vindicated at least a little bit…
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.