There’s a big publicity poster at the El Pollo Loco down the street that proudly proclaims that they use ‘farm raised chickens’. I was perplexed. How else would one raise a chicken? In an apartment?
I looked it up when I got home. It turns out that the alternative is free-range chicken. To the extent that there’s a difference in the taste, healthiness, or quality of life of the chicken (and there’s good reason to suspect there isn’t , free range would generally be the more appealing option. So, why would you advertise that you have farm raised chickens? My guess is that most people don’t actually think about what the ad actually means. They hear the word ‘farm’ and it harkens associations with local farms, and farmers markets, as opposed to large scale industrial poultry farms. And that’s as far as they think about it, and they go away with a positive impression. The effectiveness of the ad has little to do with conveying useful information, as opposed to packing an emotional punch or giving impressions through non-conscious associations that advertisers are tapping into.
Pay attention to political ads this season. Listen to what is actually said, and what that actually means. There’s often a lot less content than you might think.