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Ketchum PR switch and bait processed food campaign backfires

Ketchum PR recently came under fire for a "switch and bait" campaign where they invited food bloggers to a famous restaurant only to serve them processed food from ConAgra Foods.

This is like a popular Chinese joke where one would say that you are invited to this popular restaurant and will be served by this famous chef but didn't say the food was to be cooked by the chef.

Ketchum PR wanted to do a candid camera session with the bloggers where they would film their reaction to consuming processed food instead of real food, something which consumers which see it as a joke.

The food bloggers, however, did not hold back their disappointment and punches.

Mom Confessions blogged,

Our entire meal was a SHAM!  We were unwilling participants in a bait-and-switch for Marie Callender’s new frozen three cheese lasagna and there were cameras watching our reactions.  I’ve got a sense of humor so I was okay with it and I had been enjoying myself up until that point, but I could tell that the rest of the participants were not.  Everyone feigned weak shock and faked approval of the frozen meal.

Chubby Chinese Girl blogged,

Our "guided" conversation was ALL based of eating better, feeding our kids, the concern of childhood obesity, farmers, eating fresh and local, seasonal ingredients, CSA... and the list goes on. Yet they were serving us a frozen meal, loaded with sodium. We brought up reading labels while we shop and being aware of what we eat, Phil and George agreed, yet this FROZEN MEAL/DESSERT had exactly what we were afraid of, ingredients I can't pronounce nor understand.

Foodmayhem.com even accused the popular chef for trying to poison their baby in tow.

So, let’s re-cap.  I told you first hand of our focus on wholesome food, particularly with our baby in tow.  We both said to you, with 20+ witnesses and apparently hidden cameras, how much we despise over-processed foods and artificial ingredients.  We discussed with the group the sad state of chemical-filled foods and discussed various chains.  And yet, you still fed me the exact thing I said I did not want to eat.

A important lesson for social media PR professionals.

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