Popcorn's Dirty Secret


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Popcorn's Dirty Secret

Center For Food Safety | Animated PSA

Bees are dying at an alarming rate, and scientists have identified a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids, or “neonics”, as a primary cause of these drastic population losses. Large popcorn companies like Pop Secret use these systemic chemicals to coat the seeds of their annual corn crops. So while Americans are consuming more than 16 billion quarts of popcorn each year, they are also inadvertently killing off our invaluable bee population. The Center for Food Safety called upon Oxbow to create a short animation to serve as the centerpiece for their audacious campaign against the use of neonic seed coatings. The campaign aimed to inspire viewers to sign a petition and make their voices heard to large popcorn suppliers around the country.




This provocative topic called for a bold, yet nuanced approach in both content and execution. Oxbow worked closely with CFS to craft a script that was direct and disquieting, but also conversational, referencing the positive cultural associations ascribed to both bees and popcorn. The illustration and animation style followed suit; a series of haunting vignettes portrayed in a colorful, approachable aesthetic. This juxtaposition leaves the viewer with a genuine concern and desire to act.




To date, the campaign has garnered 88.8k social media shares and 115,586 petition signers.  And the best part? Just one week after the launch of the campaign, popcorn giant Pop Weaver pledged to phase out the use of bee-toxic seed coatings. As the second largest popcorn supplier in the country, Pop Weaver’s precedent-setting commitment is a big deal. In fact, they are the first U.S. food company to commit to phasing out the use of neonicotinoid seed coatings. Driven by campaign engagement, Pop Secret followed Pop Weaver’s lead, also pledging to phase out the use of neonic seed coatings.

 For the work on the campaign,  Oxbow won the 2015 Free Press Digital Edge award.

For the work on the campaign, Oxbow won the 2015 Free Press Digital Edge award.