Impossible Foods used the print real estate of one news media brand to criticize another, taking out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times to rebuff Bloomberg Businessweek after the business news outlet ran a cover story that suggested plant-based meat alternatives have become “just another fad.”
The print ad is a pointed rebuke to the latest in a number of stories from high-profile media outlets in recent months that call attention to the tribulations of faux meat pioneers. The ad features a Reddit thread in which users discuss plant-based meat products. Impossible also posted a blog on its website refuting some of the Bloomberg article’s points. Both the ad and the blog were created in-house by Impossible in a matter of days.
“The NYT ad wasn't about picking a fight with a media company. It was about quickly responding and sticking up for our category, our company, and our mission, and getting our side out there,” Leslie Sims, chief marketing and creative officer at Impossible Foods, said in a statement. She officially joined the company from Deloitte Digital on Jan. 1.
“The Reddit thread was intended as a lighthearted poke, and to demonstrate that everyone has an opinion about where plant-based meat stands right now,” Sims continued. “The media has theirs, Reddit users have theirs and in our blog, we shared ours.”
The catalyst for Impossible’s rebuttal was a Jan. 19 article by Bloomberg food reporter Deena Shanker, titled “Fake Meat Was Supposed to Save the World. It Became Just Another Fad,” which lays bare some of the headwinds that the faux meat industry as a whole is facing: sliding grocery and restaurant sales; inconsistent or nonexistent nutritional benefits relative to the so-called “real thing”; and the challenge of making permanent inroads with meat-eaters, just to name a few. On the cover of the Jan. 23 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, the headline “beyond impossible” alluded to two brands in the plant-based industry, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.