by Mac Jaehnert (@macjaeh)

Global food mega-conglomerate Monsanto has taken a lot of heat from environmentalists, farmers, and natural food activists in recent years. Lately it seems like half the documentary section on Netflix is packed full of tales detailing Monsanto's alleged corporate malfeasance, strong-arm legal tactics, and general shadiness.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the agri-giant is looking for ways to fight back against the tsunami of negativity they've managed to attract. Monsanto is not a company that has traditionally advertised directly to the consumer, so when I spotted this cinemagraph sponsored by Monsanto in my Facebook timeline, it caught my attention.

See how we’re working with others to help make balanced meals more accessible for all.

Posted by Monsanto Company on Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My confusion was immediate. Why is Monsanto advertising to me? Where exactly am I supposed to click to learn more information about their supposed balanced meal initiative? How much spaghetti can that lady choke down before she keels over?

Fortunately, Facebook offers a way for consumers to see the primary reason advertisers chose to target you, specifically. In the post preferences menu, I clicked "Why am I seeing this ad?" and suddenly their strategy began to reveal itself.

Aha! They're counterpunching - an interesting strategy. By serving almost overly-friendly ads at the people who are most likely to oppose their company, they're targeting the source of their messaging problem. So perhaps the strategy is sound, but what about the execution? 

Free advice: If you know you're going to get negative feedback (and come on, you're Monsanto, of course you're going to get negative feedback), be ready with an active response plan so you don't let an unchecked conversation spin out of control. 

(Photo via Flickr user Newagecrap)