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Case Study: CropLife's "Real Farm Lives"

Strong branded content not only informs, it entertains. As producers, our job is to create content that resonates with consumers while also solving brand business challenges. When developing a new series for a client, we often ask ourselves: “who are they?”; “what do they do?”; and, “what do they want to do better?”. Starting with the brand objective, we use entertaining and engaging storytelling to create a smart solution. Then, it’s all about strategic execution. Here’s how we did it for CropLife series, “Real Farm Lives”:



Objective

CropLife is an agricultural advocacy group that strives to help Canadians better understand the complexities of modern farming and the innovations involved in feeding a growing population. Research shows that less than 2% of Canada’s population live on farms, resulting in a lack of knowledge about safe farm practices and food choices. 93% of Canadians report that they know “little to nothing” about farming and feel disconnected from the people who grow their food. With the help of PR agency, Edelman, we created a content series to educate and entertain Canadians.


The Ardiel family from season one of CropLife's "Real Farm Lives" (2018, 2019)

Solution

To illicit a more-informed consumer perception, Alibi Content developed and produced a multi-part documentary series called “Real Farm Lives”. As opposed to focusing our efforts on the food technologies themselves, we decided to tell the stories of the people who use them. From strawberry farmers in Halifax, to canola farmers in Saskatchewan, to Apple farmers in Ontario, we traveled the country to share stories of real Canadian farming families. By sharing raw, organic stories, we humanized the “mysterious” farmer and fostered a relationship between Canadian consumers and their food producers.


Behind the scenes of CropLife's "Real Farm Lives" (2018, 2019)

Execution

We chose to shoot the series in a documentary-style because the genre lends itself to authentic storytelling. Beautiful sweeping images of farms and landscapes introduced the viewer to the beauty of Canada’s rural communities. Acting as a fly on the wall following the families through their daily routine on the farm, we introduced the audience to the processes used to grow their food. Candid interviews were used to create a sense of intimacy between the viewers and the on-screen families. These interviews took us beyond the mechanics of farming, and focused on the human experience. For example, one episode shares a man’s story of what it’s like to be a seventh-generation farmer while hoping that his children will be the eighth.


Living exclusively in the digital and social media space, various content was optimized for web viewing. In addition to full-length episodes, short-form segments - "Ask a Farmer" and "Myths Debunked" - were produced. In each of these series, viewers learn more about the technologies and crops showcased within the main series.


An aerial shot of the Keddy Farm from season 2 of CropLife's "Real Farm Lives" (2018, 2019)

Results

Due to the successes of Season 1, CropLife commissioned a second season which launched in October of 2019. The series garnered positive press coverage which helped drive traffic to the purpose-built microsite. The complete series can be screened at https://realfarmlives.ca.