Innovation Case Study– New media & social marketing

Social license is a critical issue facing agriculture. In today’s diverse and instant media landscape, where ideas and opinions can be shared by anyone, it is critical that
agriculture step up and tell the story of agriculture to gain public trust and ultimately secure social license to operate. The Ministry of Agriculture along with industry and associations all have a role to play in developing public trust in agriculture. Success means thinking outside traditional advertising to reach target audiences. We feel we can best demonstrate our understanding of the social license issues and opportunities by examining the recent success of License to Farm. The effective engagement of new communication tools really extended the reach and helped our client, SaskCanola, achieve their communication goals.

Name of Client: SaskCanola

Campaign Title: License to Farm



License to Farm is a 30-minute documentary film featuring conversations with farmers, scientists, professors, consumers and environmentalists, on the importance of earning social license in production agriculture. Presented by SaskCanola and produced by Berteig Imaging, License to Farm explores the truth behind common misconceptions about agriculture in Canada. In doing this it empowers farmers to stand up and advocate for their “social license to farm.”

AdFarm submitted an RFP for SaskCanola’s then-nameless film with the information that it would be focused on the farmer’s role in agriculture advocacy and social license.As an agency focusing in the agriculture industry, we constantly see the need for improved communication between food producers and consumers—so we jumped at the chance to help SaskCanola share their message.

Upon being awarded the business, AdFarm got to work on branding the film. From the name “License to Farm,” to the creative, to the various platforms (including a website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube), the brand was created by AdFarm and received by the client with great enthusiasm. Along with web and social platforms, AdFarm’s small team of three public relations professionals exclusively conducted all media relations work for License to Farm, assisted in event planning for the film’s premiere, and coordinated industry partnerships on behalf of our client. Social media channels and the website went live November 1, 2015, and the film was debuted online January 15, 2016.


Both ad hoc and secondary research was completed for this public relations project.Casual research was a major source of information because as an agriculture-focused agency, AdFarm has extensive experience in utilizing communication initiatives to further the relationship between agriculture brands and consumers. Brainstorming among AdFarm employees and industry experts was completed in order to gather insight. Secondary research was done by examining a recent report compiled by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada titled Modern agriculture and agriculture awareness focus groups.


Based on the results of this research, we determined that Canadian farmers were the target audience. This is because the overall goal of License to Farm is to inspire farmers to start having conversations about food production with consumers and advocate for their social license to farm.


From the research conducted and the identification of the target audience, AdFarm was able to determine goals and objectives for this public relations project.

To create the opportunity for dialogue between Canadian farmers and consumers.
1. To have an effect on awareness among Canadian farmers, specifically create understanding about the disconnect that exists between those producing food and those consuming it, by reaching 100,000 people across all channels within four months of social channels going live.
2. To have an effect on acceptance among Canadian farmers, specifically to create interest in starting conversations about food production with consumers, by enlisting 5,000 positive reactions (likes) across all channels in two months following the film’s launch.
3. To have an effect on action among Canadian farmers, specifically to empower them to advocate for their social license to farm, by garnering 2,500 positive shares/retweets/comments in two months following the film’s launch.
AdFarm delivered a competitive RFP budget, which was adhered to. Three public relations strategists were the primary resources on this project with support from website development and creative services.


1. It is crucial for the future of agriculture in Canada that industry members—particularly farmers—take a seat at the table when it comes to conversations about food.
2. The License to Farm program is designed to give farmers the tools and information they need to continue to earn consumer support and strengthen relationships with the people who eat the food that they produce.
3. Social license is about the end customer understanding and feeling confident in the methods used to bring food products from the farm to their plate, and it is imperative that the farmer’s voice and perspective is heard in these discussions.
The following tactics were implemented to meet the overall goal and objectives
for this project:
AdFarm worked creatively to select a name for the film that would summarize the film’s objective and instill pride in agriculture as well as translate well to social media handles, hashtags and initiatives.
• AdFarm planned, designed and worked with third-party developers to successfully execute; a website that would act as a hub for the film and its social media channels.
• AdFarm created and developed social media channels for License to Farm from the ground up, providing images, content and day-to-day monitoring for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. AdFarm also developed the branding images (profile and banner photos).
AdFarm wrote and distributed all media materials, including the press release, media advisory and media kit for the film.
AdFarm’s PR team worked closely with in-house graphic designers to conceptualize and develop the film’s official poster and promotional postcard. These items were used to raise awareness for the film at agriculture tradeshows and events.
AdFarm secured coverage for the film and media attendance at the VIP screening event as a result of our effective media materials and strong relationships with agricultural and mainstream media.
• AdFarm developed response protocol for mitigating any issues that could arise based on the film’s controversial nature.
• AdFarm successfully guided SaskCanola through contentious social media conversations, protecting SaskCanola and the License to Farm brand while acknowledging differences in opinion.


To evaluate and measure the success of the objectives, AdFarm gathered social media analytics, monitored the number of views the film received on YouTube and compiled all of the unpaid media coverage the project received. AdFarm employed the MRP system to ensure measurable evaluation was demonstrated to the client.
Highlights include:
•More than TWO MILLION impressions across all social channels (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
• More than 130,000 film views on YouTube since the upload date of Jan. 15.
• More than 48 unpaid media mentions, garnering 83.3 percent in media relations rating points.
Quick update on our social media numbers as of March 2018:
Twitter: 3,783 followers
Facebook: 2,031 likes
Instagram: 882 followers
YouTube: 481 subscribers
MailChimp: 254 subscribers
14 4,927 channel views (all videos + trailer)
130,000 views of the full-length film
60K+ website view