Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Sponsored" Tweets from the #F3K Food & Nutrition Influencer Conference

Those of you who follow various nutrition professionals on Twitter have no doubt seen the #F3K hashtag these past few days.

Briefly, the #F3K hashtag stems from an annual influencers conference run by Porter Novelli, a multinational PR firm that boldly (and rather terrifyingly) exclaims,
"We motivate people to change deeply ingrained behaviors rooted in cultural and social norms. Our results are greater than influencing people. We make them believe"
And here's Porter Novelli describing their annual PN Food3000 (#F3K) conference),
"We boast long-term relationships with the individuals and organizations that influence consumers’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to food and health. The Food and Nutrition practice annually hosts PN Food3000, at which American Dietetic Association media spokespeople are exposed to the latest innovations and research in nutrition communications. Our team of expert communicators and registered dietitians helps clients devise intelligent strategies to introduce new products or line extensions against well-chosen market segments, including multicultural audiences. We are skilled in developing platforms that create a point of differentiation, establish strategic alliances and sponsorships, grow consumption and position brands for new growth segments."
And judging from the tweets emanating from this year's #F3K that took place in Amsterdam, they've done a bang up job and the sentiment from many non-attending RDs on Twitter is that those who did attend did so at least partially on the conference's industry sponsors' dimes.

I'm going to post these tweets without commentary. Most come from RDs at the conference, many of who boast large social networks and presumably are Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic spokespeople . And to be clear, the tweets are my own quick cherry picking (to see all the tweets, click here). They're not meant to disparage or shame those who tweeted them (in many cases they're just quotes from speakers), but rather for readers here to consider the wisdom of these sorts of conferences and their promotion, as well as whether the hashtag #spon is sufficient to explain to the public that the tweets come from food industry sponsored talks (it wasn't for me - I had to ask someone what it meant).

[BTW - I did ask Porter Novelli for further information regarding sponsorship and program. They have yet to send a response. I can only suppose then that transparency doesn't make for good PR.]

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  1. Thank you for blogging about this! I am floored by some of these tweets. Industry getting RDs to co-opt their framing and messaging, and apparently the RDs think nothing of it. Gah!

    1. Appalled. As the target market for both the professionals, and the industrys, a lot of the tweets are combtive and judgy. The snotty comment about formula is particularly offensive. Cell phones and baby formula grouped together?

      Any professional who felt they got "great take aways" from this conference is in for a surprise when they try it on actual client. No wonder we walk out on coaching and programs , we are assaulted with this disrespectful, politicized, garbage that demeans.

      Thank you for putting a spotlight on how this dialog is being cultivated.

      If you sre a pro thst was at thst conference, I am glad you were psrticipating in the event... but please get a reality check before heaping it on a client. And if I se this nonsense in my child nutritional curriculum, there will be a battle.

  2. Wow, some of those tweets are humorous, but most are a bit frightening! My favourite was the "natural disaster" one, I can't wait for the next natural disaster so I can feel grateful for the processed food industry while eating a ton of ultra-processed junk food! In the meantime I'll stick to the edge of the grocery store, and enjoy real food, made from scratch at home.

  3. Anonymous7:06 am

    I read your email every day and truly couldn't believe my eyes this morning! Many of these tweets are blatantly alarmist, and these people should be embarrassed and ashamed. I hope colleagues, professionals and the public see them for who they really are. For example, mentioning "infant formula" Robyn Flipse? Really? You don't feel embarrassed that you sold out and stooped to that level? Yoni, thank you for drawing our attention to this. FTR, I had no idea what "spon" meant, either.

  4. I don't follow these "experts" because their priorities are with Big Food instead of my family's health. The good news is there are many others to follow who are looking out for our best interests instead.

  5. Anonymous3:42 pm

    I'm conflicted on some of these. I can see how the industry is trying to soften the word "processed", but they are lumping together processed foods like canned veggies and preserved meats in with those processed with way more questionable ingredients added like cereals and fortified cookies. Trying to make you sound silly for turning up your nose at a soy/whey protein bar while eating "processed" frozen vegetables.

  6. Anonymous5:26 pm

    Maybe there's something I don't know, but I would love for Rachel Begun to explain why we wouldn't have whole grains without technology.

  7. This is downright disturbing to me. For many Americans, the name Connie Diekman will ring a bell as she is a past president of the American Dietetic Association, now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. I realize I've been hearing her in PSAs for years. I don't know what else to say except that in my mind she is a sell-out and an absolute disgrace.

  8. I came back to look at this post again and I realize that hashtag combo is making me think

    "f*k sponsors"

  9. Works best if you read them with a moon unit zappa voice.

  10. I think I lost brain cells just reading this. The one about natural disasters especially got to me. SO WHAT? Sure, if there's a natural disaster and all I have to eat is white bread and twinkies, I'll eat them. Does that make it healthy somehow?