Ad of the Day: Organic Valley, in Deadpan Style, Celebrates the End of the War on Butter

Nominate a hero today to get a butter-sculpture portrait

Sugar is the new heroin, and sitting is the new smoking. But one formerly vilified habit—eating butter—is apparently off the naughty list. Gingerbread cookies and basted turkeys for everyone!

In a new digital campaign, Organic Valley declares an end to the long-raging "war on butter" that started in the 1950s, when scientists declared it evil and suggested substitutes like aerosol sprays and "yellow goo." Desserts and holiday dinners haven't been the same since, says the faux documentary below, with a bespectacled PBS-style host. Olive oil and avocados as fair swaps? Perish the thought.

Recent studies have lifted the stigma from the "rich, creamy semi-solid gold" that's been revered since "the dawn of food," says the narrator, who backs up that claim by pointing out sticks of butter that have been Photoshopped into Renaissance paintings and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

The deadpan touch of ridiculousness has become an Organic Valley trademark.

"As a little guy, we want to tell a unique story, something different than a big consumer packaged goods company would do," says Lewis Goldstein, Organic Valley's vp of brand marketing. "We take a bit of a gamble each time we do something like this, but our consumers seem to like the humor."

Organic Valley, with ad agency Humanaut, has had a string of successful digital and experiential campaigns, including "Save the Bros," "Real Morning Report" and a pop-up shop in New York City's trendy Nolita neighborhood this past summer that looked like a coffee shop but sold only half-and-half.

For the new video, Humanaut wanted to "tap into what's going on in the culture," says David Littlejohn, the agency's chief creative director. Namely, that butter's no longer verboten as an ingredient—even Time magazine says it's OK to eat it! It's also intended to be a respite from traditional holiday marketing. "No Santa, no elves," Littlejohn says.

Into this brave new butter-drenched world steps Organic Valley, whose farmers declare the company and its 1,800 farmer-owners to be "the Silicon Valley of butter," and believe that "if you churn it, they will come." The brand isn't saying you should bathe in the stuff, but one of its farmers in the video does comically snack on a full stick, saying, "Tastes like victory."

Along with the video, which will run on Facebook, YouTube, Hulu and food sites and blogs, the brand is launching a contest seeking "butter heroes," and will spend the week sculpting butter busts of the winners. Consumers can nominate their heroes via Twitter and watch the resulting sculpture making, which Littlejohn described as "mesmerizing," on Facebook Live.

"For so long, everyone thought butter was bad for you, and now the tables have turned," Littlejohn says. "So this is part history lesson and part celebration."


Client: Organic Valley

Agency: Humanaut

Recommended articles