Vital Farms Calls ‘Bullsh*t’ on Free-Range Eggs With the Help of Vengeful Chickens

The agency Preacher is behind the campaign

Vital Farms
Headshot of T.L. Stanley

Heaven help you, “Sunshine Acres,” “Green Hilltop Farms,” and others of your ilk that use “cage free” and “free range” as your marketing badge of honor.

Not only are the hens from Vital Farms calling bullsh*t on that kind of advertising, they’re fighting back, literally and physically, against what they consider to be confusing and misleading claims. Beast mode, indeed.

A bird named Claudia, for instance, flips a switch and brings the pain, in the form of flashing lights and screeching sirens that interrupt a corporate meeting at the so-called “Sunshine Acres.” And a couple of artistic hens, who have somehow crafted a voodoo doll, peck mercilessly at a tiny C-suite doppelgänger from “Green Hilltop Farms” while the full-sized exec flops, flails and otherwise flips out.

These gals aren’t messing around in new work from Preacher, which follows its first campaign for Vital Farms back in 2017 that declared the pasture-raised eggs and their commercials “Bullsh*t Free.” (That represented the biggest ad push in the Austin, Texas-based brand’s 10-year history.)

“Ruffled Feathers,” launching next week and into summer, features out-of-home ads shot by wildlife photographer Randal Ford and several 30-second spots, which show Vital Farms hens “taking a stand for their sisters whose living conditions are less than desirable.” (Alice goes a slightly less punishing route than her cohorts by sending a singing telegram about “Sunshine Acres’” sunshine-free facilities.)

Preacher execs took a psychological (and cheeky) approach to get under the skin of their ad stars and bring their simmering, avian rage to the surface:

“Maybe there’s some chicken version of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And maybe that means pasture-raised hens—with all their basic needs beyond satisfied— gain the perspective to turn their bird brains to less fortunate cage-free and free-range hens. Then there’s the fact that hens just inherently look angry,” says Jimmie Blount, associate creative director. “When we combined our observation about hens looking angry with our less-intelligent chicken hierarchy of needs thought, we arrived at the conclusion that Vital Farms hens have the right to be upset on behalf of their less fortunate sisters. From there it was just fun to mess around with how that would play out.”

Affable (real-life) farmer Stuart Dill, who made his debut in the earlier campaign, returns to explain the difference between the brand’s pasture-raised eggs and competitors’ cage-free and free-range product. That would be 108 square feet of roaming room per hen in outdoor environments year-round versus 1 square foot in an enclosed dirt pen with “industrial-grade lightbulbs.”

The education continues to be an important pillar of the message, per the brand’s research, which found the vast majority of consumers don’t understand the distinctions between cage-free, free-range and pasture-raised eggs.

VITAL FARMS CREDIT SHEET –  “Ruffled Feathers”

Client:  Vital Farms
VP Sales + Marketing: Scott Marcus
Director of Marketing: Kathryn McKeon
Director of Brand Communications: Dan Brooks
Brand Manager: Terry Farmer

Agency:  Preacher
Chief Creative Officer:  Rob Baird
Chief Executive Officer:  Krystle Loyland
Chief Strategy Officer:  Seth Gaffney
Associate Creative Director:  Jimmie Blount
Senior Copywriter:  Joe Hartley
Senior Brand Manager:  Kristen Meade
Strategy Director Ashley Shaffer
Agency Producers:  Stacey Higgins (EP) & Rachel Kichler (Senior Producer)
Business Affairs:  Miiko Martin

Production Company: O Positive
Director: Jun Diaz
Executive Producer: Ralph Laucella
Executive Producer: Marc Grill
DP: Richard Henkels
Line Producer:  Tom Hipp
Casting: Wright/Laird Casting

Edit House: Cosmo Street Editorial
Executive Producer: Maura Woodward
Producer: Anne Lai
Editor: Aaron Langley Assistant: Alex Morales
Music: Marmoset Music
Mix: Josh Wilson, Pony Sound
Finish House: Union Editorial
Online Producer: Joanna Hall
Online Artist: Moody Glasgow
Colorist:  Marshall Plante, Olio Creative
Airdate: April 1, 2019

Photography: Randal Ford
Representation: Marianne Campbell Associates


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@TLStanleyLA T.L. Stanley is a senior editor at Adweek, where she specializes in consumer trends, cannabis marketing, meat alternatives, pop culture, challenger brands and creativity.