Perdue Farms is challenging an advertising industry watchdog’sorder that chargesthat thepoultry giant’s organic chicken commercials could mislead consumers.
The National Advertising Division, the industry’s self-regulator, called on the Salisbury, Maryland,-based company Friday to “modify or discontinue” the ads, which began appearing ontelevision and YouTube last September.
The industry investigation began after one of Perdue’s biggest competitors, Tyson Foods, formally challenged the ads.
Perdue said Monday it is standing by the spots, and itplans to appeal the decision to the industry’s highest authority, the National Advertising Review Board.
“Perdue does not believe any modification is needed and is appealing this part of the decision within NAD,” the company said in a statement Monday in response to Delmarva Now’s questions.
Perdue added that it is “committed to leading the industry in changing the way that chickens are raised, and will truthfully educate consumers about its continuing innovations.”
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At issue is whether the ads’ claims apply to the way Perdue raises all of its chickens or solely those bearing its Harvestland Organic label.
The advertisements marked the debut of Chris and Ryan Perdue as spokesmen. They are the sons of Jim Perdue,the company’s chairman and longtime advertising pitchman.
The ads take on the company’s shift toward organic production. A few representative adjectives and phrases:”free range,” “organic,” “non-GMO,” “100 percent vegetarian fed,” “no antibiotics ever.”
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The problem, according to a National Advertising Division press release, is that while the spots “featured numerous visual and verbal general brand references to Perdue,” they “presented only momentary visual references to Harvestland Organic.”
In its defense, Perdue submitted a consumer perception survey suggesting that the campaign was tailored toward its Harvestland line. But the watchdog group’s own analysis of the survey showed that “substantially more” consumers came away with a general message about the Perdue brand.
Since not all of Perdue’s chickens are raised and processed organically, the ads must be changed to make clear they’re referring to Harvestland products, the group ruled.
Meanwhile, the National Advertising Division cleared Perdue’s website, finding that itdidn’t claim that all of its chickens are organic.
Nor did the grouptake issue with Perdue promoting that all of its chickens are raised on a meat-free diet and without antibiotics.
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