2019 Effie Case Study Series: Bullsh*t-Free Eggs

This series showcases a selection of winning cases from the 2019 Effie Awards United States competition. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Effie Awards, which recognize effectiveness in any and all forms of marketing communications that contribute to a brand's success.

Category:  Packaged Food

Client:  Vital Farms


Challenge: In 2017, we were living in a cage-free-eggs world. Packaged food brands and restaurants boasted about their use of cage-free eggs, as if it were a badge of a better choice. The people of California and Massachusetts had voted to go completely cage-free. It seemed the whole country was behind cage-free. And when we met consumers, they proudly stated: “We only buy cage-free.”



With “free” in the name, it’s no wonder that cage-free was the golden child of the grocery store. People had no idea that cage-free eggs come from hens that live their entire lives indoors, crammed into industrial-sized barns with about one square foot per hen.

That’s in stark comparison to Vital Farms’ pasture-raised way: hens that spend their days outside, free to forage in the sunshine year-round, with 108 square feet of land per hen. 

As the largest producer of pasture-raised eggs, Vital Farms had to separate itself from all the noise long benefiting cage-free. Given the perception that cage-free buyers were already doing the right thing, growing awareness and sales would be an uphill battle. With significantly smaller market share and marketing budgets, we’d have to break through in order to educate.

Solution: After seeing in research how stunned people were to find out the difference between cage-free hens and Vital Farms’, we knew we had to build our campaign on comparison. To awaken them to their misperception, we stole the “ -free” construct out from under cage-free with a new hook: Vital Farms eggs aren’t cage-free, they’re Bullsh*t-Free.

Our pointed, attention-grabbing films, set on a real Vital Farms farm and narrated by a real Vital Farms farmer, took aim at cage-free eggs in the most direct way. Media was also a key part of our strategy, as we partnered only with media companies that would keep the purity of our message held high. We were not aiming to create fear or recruit our audience to a new humane movement. Instead, we set out with one goal: to change the eggs they’re buying.

Results: We did just that. The work led to increases in brand awareness and sales, while sales of cage-free eggs began to decline. Vital Farms made people laugh, think, and in the process established its leadership in pasture-raised, Bullsh*t-Free eggs.

1 comment about "2019 Effie Case Study Series: Bullsh*t-Free Eggs".
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  1. Jamie McCann from Mr., August 22, 2019 at 11:02 a.m.

    This is absolutely brillant marketing, Seth. 

    Being a farmboy from Montana turned advertising executive in SoCal turned executive recruiter...I look at advertising through different lenses today depending on the message.  

    Hearing the phrase, "Cage-Free Eggs" always befuddled me. It's like "Grass fed beef".  News flash, folks...all cattle eat grass.  But, I digress...

    I love the "Bullsh*t Free" approach. On behalf of chickens everywhere, I thank the Preacher team for some simple brillant and effective message and calling out the "cage-free" means nothing marketing message. In short, "cage-free" is bullsh*t.

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