This isn’t necessarily the latest news, but the LA Times wrote about it, so I’ll jump in. That’s just how I roll!
Before we all roll our eyes and crack jokes about the pop star’s new gig as California’s drought spokesperson let’s take a step back a moment and consider some things.
California agriculture’s tired message that “farmers feed the world” is just that: tired. Truthful as the slogan may be it doesn’t resonate with people, and in the big picture world of marketing and promotions, you need to resonate with people if your message is going to go anywhere.
Some quick background: Lady Gaga wanted to use the scenic San Simeon Hearst Castle estate for a music video shoot. The swimming pool there, which she wanted to use for the shoot leaks – a lot! In addition to the $22,000 fee to film at the estate, she agreed to fix the pool, donate $250,000 to the Hearst Castle Foundation, and fund a $25,000 water study for nearby Cambria.
Gaga will also film public service announcements on California’s drought as part of the deal and promote a message of conservation to her 41 million Twitter followers.
Here’s where agriculture could be cast in a contributing role.
What if California agriculture treated Lady Gaga to lunch (and not just once) and began a conversation with her about what they do, how water plays a role in what agriculture does, and how agriculture has been at the forefront of water conservation measures. What if, during that lunch, real farmers and ranchers talked with her and learned a bit about her too? I’m not saying you have to go out and start buying her albums and attending her concerts (unless you want to).
In other words, as George Soares, who represents a host of agricultural organizations before lawmakers and policy officials in Sacramento likes to talk about, what if California agriculture developed a relationship with the pop icon. Become her friend. No, really!
Think of it like the recent visit to California by President Obama. Yeah, his lecture on climate change was a bitter pill to swallow and arguably not the most appropriate thing to say, but without his visit would the New York Times have written stories that accurately portrayed the problem in California?
How will people know if we don’t tell them? Agriculture cannot afford to sit back and complain about the lies and poorly premised messages while their detractors and antagonists have a seat at the table.
Follow me on Twitter @ToddFitchette