Carrageenan–the centuries-old solution to perfectly textured yogurt, chocolate milk and ice cream, harvested from red seaweed–came under attack as a harmful food ingredient, with allegations that it might cause everything from gastric distress to cancer. Social media food experts and fear-mongering organizations mounted pressure against food processing companies and regulatory bodies to eliminate carrageenan from processed foods.The proposed takedown was based, at best, on faulty science and, at worst, on agenda-driven opinion.
We helped our client weather this firestorm against their tentpole food ingredient and protect a chemical company’s most precious reputational asset: its science. Key strategies included attacking the naysayers' deeply flawed science, as well as tackling biases against industry-funded research and negative perceptions of big business.
We developed a fully integrated, cross-channel communications strategy rooted in unimpeachable, science-based fact. We built and sustained an ongoing five-year narrative for carrageenan as told by everyone from the most sophisticated scientist to seaweed farmers from Indonesia.
We redesigned and repopulated content on the Marinalg site that represents many companies in the seaweed and food texture industry around the globe.
We established a distinguished independent group of scientists under a “Food Science Matters” banner, website and thought leadership platform.
We provided media training for scientists and actively promoted new research that supported carrageenan safety in all media. We engaged reporters and editors and managed the media.
We wrote or edited scientific testimony and designed exhibits for regulatory presentations.
We worked with law firms, lobbyists and other Washington insiders to influence regulatory hearings by curating and delivering testimony at the National Organic Standards Board.
We engaged a B2B market research firm to conduct a third-party, double-blind survey regarding formulator preferences and amplified results using scientist bylines for industry publications.
We wrote thought leadership pieces to go under scientist bylines for websites and industry publications.
We authored and distributed real-time social media commentary throughout the campaign including right from the hearing floor.
We monitored everything from traditional media to social media conversations using the most sophisticated tools available and crafted instant, impactful responses for critical audiences.
There are no decisive and final victories in this kind of battle. Results are always mixed and often carried by arguments or emotions far beyond the rational.