Attorney Brian Leighton, who represented Delano Farms and The Susan Neill Fresh Fruit Co. on the losing side of that case, said his clients wanted to promote their own products, not those of their competitors.
“It’s like Coca-Cola and Pepsi being required to pay (assessments) to promote generic advertising for soda,” he said then.
Generic advertising got turned on its head in 2001, when the Supreme Court ruled the Mushroom Council’s generic advertising did violate the First Amendment.
In the aftermath of that decision, The Packer quoted John Davids, a partner in San Martin, Calif.-based B&D Mushrooms Inc., saying, “We’re a small farm and don’t really have the ability to promote our own label, so the generic promotions were very important.”
Again, all this history is couched in companies being required to pay for generic advertising. With the PMA “Sesame Street” partnership, companies are free to join or not join.
The earlier generic advertising battles were focused on single commodities or narrow groups of commodities.
The “Sesame Street” plan embraces all fresh fruits and vegetables. It does not seem to limit companies rising to the top in the same way as if all the companies were all marketing the same commodity.
I have sensed a reluctance for marketers to go big in promoting fresh produce. That is part of why the Let’s Move campaign has been so important, and that program seems to be helping increase produce consumption.
Of course, first lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for A Healthier America have been key backers of Let’s Move and the PMA “Sesame Street” program, which was announced Oct. 31 at the White House.
The “Sesame Street” campaign seems a great extension of Let’s Move, reaching and training the eating habits of younger children and also getting the industry on the same page.
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