The meaning that has been given to “Race” can be likened to a very effective global branding campaign. Perhaps one of the greatest campaigns of mankind in its effectiveness to divide. The first American settlers used it to market the suppression of the Native Americans, who were here first. Then came slavery. Hitler branded “Jews” as a separate “Race” not worthy of living within a Supremacist White Nation. 9/11 was another effectively devastating brand campaign. “Religious Branding” cuts as deeply and as powerfully as “Racial Branding”. Same beast. While racial propaganda has been around for years, this insidious type of branding continues to keep human beings separate from each other as well as hateful, sad, small and afraid. Clearly unsustainable.
Racism is a form of branding that continues daily for people of color and various minorities in the “United” States and abroad. Even with Mr. Obama as President, it’s easy to pretend we’ve re-branded ourselves as a nation. But it’s evident we have not when you still see yellow cabs in Manhattan pass up African American families trying to hail a cab in the pouring rain to pick up the white couple just down the block. Well branded racial stereotypes are so burnished into the American UNconcsiousness that they persist right here in one of the greatest cities on earth, amidst the bastions of higher thinking and education. Even our own American Museum of Natural History says, “Modern humans were the first hominids to populate the entire globe, after leaving Africa about 100,000 years ago.” How many white people in Manhattan have spent real time exploring within themselves that that they are African and can identify with what it “feels” like? Eminem unfortunately does not live in Manhattan.
Racism is so much a part of our “Human Brand Story” today that we’ve grown numb to how we quietly reinforce our own “Brand Essence” every time we check off our race on a US Census form, or an application for a job, or a school. There is the “Other” box we can always check and fill in “American” or “Human” or “Hot” — whatever calls to us, but building our “Brand” today happens without our agreement. Whether we pretend we’re in a new era where Racism isn’t an issue or we’re the victims or perpetrators of it, Corporate America and the government like to keep us in tidy boxes. Countless millions are spent on marketing and advertising based on demographics, i.e. the color of our skin. This reinforces to people that their skin color means they are different in some fundamental way to others.
While we don’t have an answer to this very complex and deeply rooted brand identity crisis humankind suffers daily, there is room for optimism and inquiry. The good news is our “Brand” perception of ourselves as human beings hasn’t been transmuted into our DNA. In other words, we haven’t been around long enough for a human subspecies to arise as a result, so there is a possibility for us all to begin to re-think these issues regardless of the color of our skin, and to start to consciously relate to each other as equally amazing individuals in our day to day exchanges. There is the possibility that we human beings can marvel at the beauty of each others physical features, cultural heritage and self expression, and celebrate our differences, rather than quietly denigrating each other whilst shrouding our communications in inauthentic pleasantries. Then there are the common sense facts we can’t ignore. No biology or science has confirmed that there is any difference between us genetically due to the color of our skin. Two Chinese people can be more genetically different than a Chinese person and a Sudanese person. We all breathe air, bleed blood, eat food, drink water, feel hot, feel cold. We are born and then we die. And all that time in between as human beings we do get the opportunity to create our own “brand story” for ourselves.
We have the opportunity every day to step out and create our individual “Brand” by who we choose to BE, in the face of anything. Whether we are a person of color or not. We all have the same tools in our human arsenal that we can share with each other and the world. WE can BE love, hate, fear, jealousy, anger, compassion, sadness, grief, resentment, embarrassment, success, failure, hilariousness, triumph, bliss, sensuality or joy, regardless of our color or what anyone thinks of us, even the government or Corporate America. This is our saving grace. We can “Re-Brand” ourselves as individuals at the core of who we are at any given moment.
The beauty of being human as that we have the power to create a world that’s sustainable, where Brand Love and Brand Color peacefully co-exist.
Monsanto is again in bed with the Biotech industry at the expense of public health and our environment. Genetically Engineered Round Up Ready Alfafa seeds have been deregulated yet again and are being pushed on farmers to plant, not just in the US, but globally.
Who stands to gain: Monsanto, the Biotech Industry, Monsanto’s friends in Congress and the Gov, Obama included. And the usual suspects: the advertising, marketing and media companies being paid big bucks to market this unnatural seed and keep the truth silent.
Who stands to lose: farmers, and every human being on earth, cows, and any animal that drinks or eats, let’s just say… eventually the entire eco-system will lose.
This is alarming on several levels, first the active ingredient in Monsanto’s GE Round Up Ready Alfalfa has not been tested on human beings properly for safety by Monsanto. Scientists are saying much more toxic herbicides will now be needed to be sprayed across farmlands all over the US to keep the weeds off this new, resistant nature deviating alfalfa. (Until now only 10% of alfalfa crops are sprayed with herbicides). What some are saying is the cumulative effect between the toxic herbicides and the genetically engineered alfalfa fall out will result in an increase in miscarriages, cancers, and various illnesses and disease.
This exceptionally resistant breed of alfalfa will overtake all other breeds of non-GMO alfalfa, as the bees will carry the pollen from one farm to the next and it will spread like wildfire, contaminating every crop of alfalfa across our great land.
The chemicals and tainted alfalfa will find their way into livestock feed across America, which will then show up in the dairy, milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream. This will crush part of the organic farming industry. Alfalfa is a key mainstay livestock feed used in the dairy industry overall. Oh, and it’s not just the dairy industry that will be effected, the toxicity and tainted product will also lodge in the fat cells of livestock which will show up in the meat supply.
Any seeds which are exported (the US exports about 50% of its alfalfa supply) if accepted by other countries will contaminate and kill off their own diverse alfalfa seed supply. Some foreign countries have put a ban on accepting any GMO or GE seeds from the US. (Monsanto and Dupont own all of the seeds in the US, btw, Our food supply is patented.). India allowed GMO cotton seeds from the US into it’s agriculture a few years ago. They were advertised as “magic seeds’ to poor farmers who bet their life savings on these expensive seeds. The result was the opposite, crops failed miserably and the seeds were found to have “terminator technology” implanted in them so they would not generate more than one crop. Unlike natural seeds. These farmers were forced to buy more and more expensive seeds and were saddled with failed crops and so much debt that a wave of farmers committed suicide by drinking the very toxic pesticides they were promised they’d never have to use on their crops. See the attached link.
Why is this happening? Greed and Control. And a really effective advertising and marketing campaign.
Monsanto dumps tons of money into advertising and marketing in the agricultural media here and abroad. They own the media when it comes to ag and food in the US. You will not see any published article in any ag mag stating the truth about “agriculture” in the states. While some farmers are privy to the information from doing their own investigating or from experience, others are buying into the Monsanto “promise” (ie. bait and switch/manipulation/extortion). Even knowing about Monsanto doesn’t make a difference as independent thinking and acting farmers have been shut down over many years now by Monsanto and big food companies. “Food, Inc.” and “King Corn” are good films to see if you haven’t already. “The Ominvore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan is another good book on the topic of pastoral farming vs. factory farming.
The American people still have very little information and most have no idea of the impact this will all have on public health, or the health of their own families. What’s becoming evident is that the only way to protect yourself and your family from the harmful side effects of this global assault on our food sovereignty is to be an Agri-Luddite. Buy local, know your farm – what they grow, how they grow it, what they feed their animals and how they raise them, and if you can’t find all that out, refrain from eating dairy and meat. This is radical and certainly not an answer for 95% of Americans.
So what can we do as branding, marketing and advertising companies? First, we can educate ourselves. And then we can choose to take on projects that are not harming the environment, animals or people. We can get the word out to our clients, colleagues, vendors and employees. We can raise awareness within our own companies and communities of the issues and have brainstorming sessions internally and with our community about how as a responsible branding, advertising or marketing company we can make a difference. We can get involved with and/or support The Organic Trade Association, www.ota.com, or any .org which is actively fighting the good fight in DC for us all.
Monsanto ran a successful campaign to get their agenda passed. What’s needed is a a genetically engineered public awareness campaign and media blitz to protect our food sovereignty. It’s time we get together and mix our creative DNA and join forces to take this on. Production and media budget will be needed. Any partners or parties interested in joining a brainstorming petri dish with TBN or contributing toward a budget for a high impact production and media buy, the likes of which will be resistant to all strains of multi-national interference, please contact us directly. At this point, it will take nothing short of unnatural creativity and courage to keep our food safe.
With the new greenwashing legislation happening in the United States and Europe, and the growing number of consumer watch dog groups out there, it’s becoming risky business to say almost anything on your package, but most under fire it seems are the “eco-friendly” and “natural” claims.
Ben & Jerry’s removed the word “natural” from their products because a consumer health advocacy group cited some processed ingredients in their products. BMW made a claim of low emissions and stood by it, but have dealt with the controversy around it because they are only low emissions when compared with other luxury vehicles. They have high emissions when compared to the rest of the auto industry. And consumers continue to watch and pounce at even a whiff of foul play regarding claims. The vegans are even out for blood (obviously not from animals but from corporations). Ecover, the ecological maker of laundry detergent, lost their Vegan rating because an animal rights group in the UK busted them for testing on fleas. Fleas? Really?
Even the smallest false claim, or what corporations consider the tiniest of white lies, can have an enormous impact. The outcome is a cynical public. Where no one believes anything, anymore.
There’s a greenwashing (and now, apparently, even a veganwashing) backlash. All the “good” companies, the ones who have been doing everything possible to be the most eco-conscious, socially responsible and transparent, are now afraid to say what they’re actually doing that’s good on their products or in their advertising for fear of getting it wrong.
So we’ve gone from greenwashing to our newest term, “greenhushing”.
For all the money a company stands to make by earning the right to make a truthful claim on their product or in their ad campaign, there’s far more a company stands to lose and that we all stand to lose when they lie, even just a little.