The PR firm that helped torpedo a ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically modified foods in California last year is trying to replicate the victory in Washington this fall.
Washington voters will decide the fate of Proposition 522 in November. In the meantime, natural and organic food companies like Annie's Homegrown, Dr. Bronner's Magic soaps and Whole Foods Market are urging support of the measure, while GMO-backers like Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, as well as dozens of farm bureaus and similar agricultural groups, are advocating against the proposition.
Sacramento-based PR and public affairs shop Bicker, Castillo & Fairbanks is advising the No on 522 campaign. The firm guided the push to torpedo a similar measure, Proposition 37, in California last year. BC&F partners Kathy Fairbanks and Gwyn Bicker, both Burson-Marsteller alums, handle communications strategy with a specialty in ballot initiatives.
Another California Prop 37 firm, Santa Monica-based political consulting firm Winner & Mandabach Campaigns, a ballot measure specialist, is handling advertising for the No on 522 effort in Washington.
Opponents of the measure warn of higher food prices, while supporters extol transparency in alerting consumers to GMO foods.
On the flip side, Seattle-based Moxie Media is handling Yes on 522. The firm is led by Democratic operative Lisa MacLean.
Seattle public radio station KUOW reported this week that Monsanto recently wrote a check for $4.6M to the "No on 522" campaign, essentially doubling its funds for the final stretch.
The California defeat of Proposition 37, which would have made the state the first in the country to have a law, was a major setback for the GMO label movement. Despite polls that show a majority of Americans favor labeling such products, the Golden State measure fell 53%-47%. A $46M advertising and PR blitz against the proposition has been widely credited with the outcome.