Perdue Farms just launched a series of documentary-style TV spots nationally that address consumer trust in chicken and issues like steroids and hormones. It takes Perdue into advertising territory that has been avoided by most poultry companies due to its controversial nature.

Perdue’s TV spots deal with issues such as steroids and hormones, cages for rearing and by-products in the feed. Given the levels to which consumer concerns about some of these issues have risen, more companies can be expected to venture into this public relations and advertising arena. Importantly, the Perdue spots deal positively with the issues without unnecessarily raising negatives for the chicken category.

The “We Believe in a Better Chicken” campaign highlights Perdue becoming the first poultry company to receive the USDA Process Verified Seal, which verifies that Perdue Fresh, All Natural Chicken has been raised without cages, fed an all-vegetarian diet with no animal by-products and on selected items has the company’s signature tenderness guarantee.

“We know that today's consumers are interested in learning more about the food they eat. They want to know how the chicken was raised and what it was fed,” said Jim Perdue, chairman of Perdue Farms. “At Perdue, we are proud of associates, our practices for raising chickens and our products, and we want consumers to learn more about us. This campaign allows us to share more of the Perdue story with consumers – We Believe in a Better Chicken has become a philosophy and promise that extends across the brand,” he said.

Consumer misconceptions about industry practices have been increasing for decades, but poultry companies have avoided addressing issues like hormone and steroid use – none is used in any U.S.-grown chickens. When consumer misconception was less prevalent in earlier times, poultry companies chose to not raise a negative issue with consumers. More recently – though a majority of consumers now believe that hormones are used in chicken production – companies still have been reluctant to advertise that hormones and steroids are not used. The thinking at many companies has been that it is disingenuous to advertise that their chicken contains none of a substance that isn’t in any chicken produced by any U.S. producer and which is, in fact, banned by law.

Thinking about the hormone issue is changing, however, around the poultry industry. More and more companies have begun adding small-print disclaimers to their labels – no hormones or steroids. But how many consumers read – and believe – the fine print? The issue needs to be addressed in a positive way, and the Perdue campaign does so. The campaign takes viewers behind-the-scenes at Perdue Farms and introduces passionate associates who discuss hormones and other topics like cages for rearing and animal by-products in the feed.

Perdue Farms has led the way with a campaign that talks positively about its own programs and products without dwelling on negatives or drawing negative comparisons with competitors. The campaign, in fact, is defined by what Perdue is as a company – not about what is not in its products. The ads are running on national TV and the campaign also has digital, print, retail and social media extensions. Take a look at a couple of the commercials: We Believe in a Better Chicken: Diet  and We Believe in a Better Chicken: Intro.