Dig up Dirt

15 - PC-Lanigan-March23-132-HRSoil – it’s our world’s silent, but often overlooked partner in food production; a renewable resource we usually take for granted.

The United Nations decided this needed to change and declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. With 95 per cent of the world’s food coming directly and indirectly from soils, there’s no escaping the fact healthy soils are needed to achieve global food security.

Keeping soils healthy is the cornerstone of PotashCorp’s business. It is the world’s largest fertilizer company by capacity, producing the three primary crop nutrients: potash (K), nitrogen (N), and phosphate (P). Its operations include five potash mines in Saskatchewan and two in New Brunswick, with additional operations and business interests in the United States, Trinidad, Jordan, Israel, China, and Chile.

With the integral role it plays in food production, PotashCorp is mindful of projections for population growth – with the latest estimates showing that there will be an additional two billion people to feed by the year 2050.

“With fertilizer accounting for 50 per cent of the world’s food production, we know PotashCorp can make an important contribution to global food security,” says Denita Stann, vice-president, Investor and Public Relations. “When 2015 was named the International Year of Soils, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to reach out to our stakeholders and the broader community to explain how we all benefit when soils are healthy.”

The company’s 2015 ad campaign highlights the fact that when PotashCorp’s crop nutrients improve yields, the benefits are many: jobs are created, businesses grow, and community investment increases. And all of this nourishes human potential.

The message was delivered in a variety of print ads, billboards, and a memorable radio ad, delivered from the point of view of soil itself –  “Hello there. I’m Soil. Some people call me dirt, but sticks and stones, you know? They’re just jealous because 2015 is the International Year of Soils. I call it the International Year of Me.”

Soil also had a starring role in the campaign’s television ad – though in its more traditional form. It is front and centre as three children gleefully make mud pies, jump into deep, brown puddles, and drive toy machinery through the muck.

The kids – Ava, Carter, and Haleigh – are children of employees who work at PotashCorp and they obviously relished their roles as they played in the mud. The underlying message? PotashCorp’s 5,100 employees still have that same enthusiasm for their work, which is to get soil the nutrients it needs to grow food and nourish human potential.

“Not only was this a fun ad for us to create, it carries two important messages,” says Stann. “Despite the size and complexity of our company, we never lose sight of our role to help farmers produce the food that the world needs. And, it celebrates our workforce, the people who we know are ultimately the key to our success.”

Thanks to its memorable message and cast, the ad – dubbed “Boundless Potential” – generated significant traffic to PotashCorp’s YouTube channel and became its most popular video by far, with nearly 30,000 views by fall 2015.


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