Brand: Crop Science
Agency: Porter Novelli
Situation Analysis and Campaign Goals
Chances are, even if you're not actively tuned in to environmental issues, you've heard something about bees dying at an alarming rate or seen the quote attributed to Albert Einstein making its rounds regarding humanity only lasting four years if the bees were to become extinct. The good news about this internet activism is that people are showing a real desire to protect and promote honey bee health. The bad news is that the majority of the facts lack one key item – the truth. Honey bee populations in the US are at their highest number in decades, and Albert Einstein never actually said anything about bees (he was a physicist, not an entomologist, after all).
The Crop Science division of Bayer is similarly faced with false claims from activists who have a noble cause in mind – save the bees – but don't have the facts to back them up. In the 90s, neonicotinoid insecticides (or neonics) were introduced to the agricultural market and have been widely used since because of their effectiveness against pests and their favorable environmental profile compared to the older chemistries they replaced. Bayer, the maker of these chemicals, came under fire from activists who claimed neonicotinoids were killing bees despite an overwhelming body of scientific, peer-reviewed evidence that shows neonics do not harm honey bees when used according to label.
For years, the Bee Care Program, founded in 2012, worked to counter these activist claims and junk science with facts and diligent research that show honey bee health is most impacted by two things – the deadly Varroa mite and the increasing loss of forage and habitat acreage. Over the past several years, the Bee Care Program has shifted from defending neonicotinoids to promoting one action that everyone can agree upon, no matter which side of the bee health debate you fall on – working together to plant more abundant and diverse flowers to feed pollinators.