VIDEO: Fonterra farmers speak out in new ad campaign

Fonterra farmers speak their minds to former All Black captain Richie McCaw.

It's tough on the dairy farm right now but Fonterra [NZX: FSF] suppliers are keen to send some positive messages about their business.

So Fonterra has launched a new advertising campaign designed to dispel some myths.

Fronted by Richie McCaw the ads focus on five topics that farmers want the wider public to better understand.

In one video, Mr McCaw meets up with his sister and brother-in-law at their farm in North Canterbury to discuss what being part of a co-operative is all about and send a message that it’s not just some “faceless corporate.”

And in another, he meets Simon from Hawera, who describes what it means contributing to a business with a global footprint.

“I suppose we’re a lightweight with some big gloves on,” Simon says. “We’re only tiny but we’re still producing the best milk in the world. And at four-thirty in the morning you are getting up to do the best for your country.”

Mr McCaw chimes in: “That’s what’s being a New Zealander is all about.”

Other topics covered include the environment, Fonterra in the community and use of technology on the farm and in the factories.

The campaign, launched at Fonterra’s annual networkers conference this week, was developed with Auckland-based advertising agency Colenso.

A spokesman says all up the campaign cost less than a million dollars and was funded out of existing budgets.

Dairy farmers are battling low milk prices at the moment, with Fonterra cutting its forecast payout to $4.30 per kg of milk solids, well below the break-even point of $5.25 for the average farmer.

The Reserve Bank’s latest Financial Stability Report noted that total dairy debt of around $40 billion is a threat to the economy.

The advertising campaign is not a defensive strategy, Fonterra’s spokesman says, but designed to let farmers tell their own stories.

Fonterra group director of Co-operative affairs Miles Hurrell says dairy farmers say they want the public to understand the good things they are doing for communities, the environment and the economy.

"This is about giving our farmers a voice and opportunity to share their perspectives and their contribution to New Zealand."

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