Twitchy Corn Cob Gets Fingered, Sprung

Michael Pollan, watch your back. The high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) industry is out to get you—and every other vocal HFCS detractor.

The HFCS industry has launched a tough-talking campaign (see sample ad above) to win back the sweet affection it so truly desires. Peel away the husk and you’ll see a textbook example of communications strategy at work:

BECOME THE VICTIM. High-fructose corn syrup isn’t the bad guy. It’s a victim of malicious lies being spread by “big sugar” (yes, they actually use that term in a press release).

CHAMPION CONSUMERS. The HFCS industry has created the “nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom” to mask its self-serving effort. Give me corn or give me death!

REFRAME THE ISSUE. This isn’t about how inexpensive, government-subsidized corn sweeteners are contributing to an increase in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. The issue is that HFCS and sugar are “nutritionally equivalent.”

CAST DOUBT. Fund research that contradicts prevailing HFCS “myths,” creating enough doubt in consumer’s minds so we all go on eating whatever we want, whenever we want.

Now just put all of that together in a slightly-homespun-looking website called, and you have one of the slickest counter communications campaigns I’ve seen outside a political election.

Now get your hands off my high-fructose-corn-syrup-frosted flakes.