Lots of kids play with barnyard toys, but the reality of factory farms isn't as rosy.
A new anti-factory-farming campaign takes that probably obvious truth to the extreme, with a series of online mini-games, and an actual block set, featured in a biting—if also smug—product demo parody.
Animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and agency Nice and Serious created the ad, website and physical toys, which include box-shaped hens, pigs and cows that cram too perfectly together into cages inside a barn. There are even little removable bacon strips.
The whole thing is basically a more square, interactive version of Chipotle's famous and similarly themed "Back to the Start" campaign, minus Willie Nelson's killer Coldplay cover and Johnny Kelly's stunning animation.
The online games are basically farming-themed skins on classics like Whac-a-Mole (in this case, Whack-a-Sick-Chicken-with-Antibiotics, which will become less effective for humans the more they're used in food). Other gripes include that cramped quarters make animals more prone to sickness, that rainforests are being torn down to make room to grow their feed, and that factory farming methods may result in meat that's less nutritious (though given what people are willing to stuff in their faces, less delicious might be a more convincing argument).
It also casts labels like "100 percent natural" as misleading—a case that another group has made in more compelling fashion. In fact, CIWF runs into a familiar problem for animal advocacy organizations in that it feels like it's preaching to the choir, even if its goal is to accrue signatures on a petition.
And sadly, the toys themselves don't appear to be actually available for purchase—which puts them at a distinct disadvantage to popular competitors like the John Deere Farm Set.