High-Fructose Corn Syrup’s Quest for Popularity

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which has been fighting some negative publicity these days, is set to begin their $20-$30 million PR and advertising campaign soon.

High-fructose corn syrup is a manufactured sweetener that has come under great scrutiny for being a large factor in America’s growing weight problem. HFCS is used in many products such as soda, salad dressing, ketchup and breakfast cereals, to name a few.

As we “go green” and become more healthy these days, we are shunning our old favorites that we wouldn’t have thought twice about 5 years ago. As the organic grocery giant Whole Foods takes over the world, so have “au naturel” products.

The Wall Street Journal published “High Fructose Corn Syrup Mixes It Up” this week about the sweetener’s quest for popularity. Hired by the Corn Refiners Association, and at the helm of this campaign, is the Chicago office of Omnicom Group’s DDB, a global leader in advertising and marketing campaigns. An executive vice president at DDB says, “The sweetener has been getting a bad rap, and a big reason is there has been no other information in the marketplace to counter the mistruths.” DDB plans to change this with their new campaign.

The 18-month campaign will include three newspaper ads, TV spots that begin in September and online ads. The target audience? Moms. Another tactic used – “the trade group will also have its PR firm conduct phone and in-person conversations with influential mommy bloggers.”

One of three ads, featuring a stalk of corn, “carries the headline: ‘And Now a Little Food for Thought.’ The ad goes on to tell readers that lots of foods and beverages are sweetened with ‘sugars made from corn, such as high-fructose corn syrup’ and that it has the ‘same natural sweeteners as table sugar and honey.’”

So, what do you think? Is HFCS really not as bad as it’s hyped up to be? Can DDB tackle these negative perceptions and influence America to start fueling themselves with this “natural” sweetener? And most importantly, is it unethical for them to even try?

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