Ben & Jerry's launches farm advocacy campaign

BURLINGTON, VT: Ben & Jerry's, in an effort that complements their business and their politics, has rolled out a new campaign that seeks to highlight the imperiled state of America's small family farms.

BURLINGTON, VT: Ben & Jerry's, in an effort that complements their business and their politics, has rolled out a new campaign that seeks to highlight the imperiled state of America's small family farms.

The ice cream maker is working with M. Booth & Associates, its AOR for the past three years, to publicize the effort. Its centerpiece is a new advertisement featuring a Vermont farmer speaking about the growing corporate control of his industry. The ad began airing last week in eight national markets including New York, Denver, and San Francisco.

M. Booth VP Julie Masow said the agency landed an exclusive article in USA Today to cover the launch of the campaign. They are still pitching the story to other outlets and sending out DVDs in order to drive traffic to the Ben & Jerry's website. They will be handling media relations duties through the end of the campaign in November.

Sean Greenwood, senior PR specialist for Ben & Jerry's, said that the campaign's immediate goal is to convince congress to reinstate the recently expired Milk Income Loss Contract [MILC] bill that helped support small dairy farmers.

"Down the road a little bit, on the horizon, is the farm bill coming up for 2007," he added.

Greenwood said that the company is incorporating educational elements of the campaign into its popular factory tour in Vermont, and sending material to its franchisees around the country.

Ben & Jerry's also teamed up with the Union of Concerned Scientists to help produce materials for the campaign that "enrich its understanding of small-scale farming and sustainable agriculture."

"We are ice cream people," Greenwood said. "As we get out of the realm of making and talking about ice cream, we're looking at 'Who can we work with.'"

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