You read the claims in ads all the time, #1 this and #1 one that. You’re dazzled with amazing photos. Can you believe what you see? Are there really any ethics when it comes to dairy cattle marketing?
Ethics are a collection of principles of right conduct that shape the decisions people or organizations make. Practicing ethics in dairy cattle marketing means deliberately applying standards of fairness, or moral right and wrong, to marketing decision-making, behavior, and practice in the organization or on the farm.
Wild West Shootout
As I scroll through the major print publications, I see a wide variety of practices that may not abide by a standard definition of marketing ethics. Pretty much every add you see has had the photo retouched, the cow cropped out and claims that they have the #1 this or the #1 that.You even see claims to be the #1 Genomics animal even when they have not been officially released.
I am not saying that this is totally wrong. What I am saying is that there needs to be a standard or mutually agreed upon set of regulations that all dairy cattle advertising abides by. Currently it’s still a wild wild west where the people who design the ads are able to do whatever their creative heart’s desire.
Nowhere is this truer than in photos. As we have highlighted in the past “Has Photo Enhancement Gone Too Far?” it seems to be a free-for-all when it comes to what some photographers will do to get a great photo. I am sure in the minds of those who make these changes they think they are doing the correct thing. Are they really? Are you really helping the breeder sell more? Or are you hurting the industry as a whole because you are causing some to distrust the legitimacy of the image?
The New Rules of Dairy Cattle Marketing
As a graphic designer this excites me but as a dairy cattle breeder this scares me. There needs to be a level of trust that readers can expect when they are reading these publications. Some examples of rules would be:
- If a photo has been retouched it needs to be identified
- No retouching of an animal should be allowed
- Can only claim to be #1 for something if it is validated by an official list
- Unless there is an official conversion from one country’s ranking/evaluation to another there should be no claims made accordingly
The Bullvine Bottom Line
I remember when I first got into dairy cattle marketing almost 20 years ago. At that point in time there was actually an industry accepted standard that all organizations had to abide by when publishing sire proof information. But at the times have changed the rules and regulations have been lost. The problem is that, with the loss of the rules, has come the loss of the credibility. To rectify this, I wonder if it’s time to establish a new set of rules? What is necessary? What is possible? What rules would you like to see when it comes to marketing dairy cattle?
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To get a copy of the Dairy Marketing Code of Conduct please click here.