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04/24/2023

NotCo imagines how farm animals would look if they achieved old age

Out-of-home ads in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square were created using AI
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NotCo campaign

We’ve seen aged beef before, but this cow looks like it’s seen some things.

Plant-based food company NotCo Canada recently ran a provocative out-of-home advertising campaign in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square showing how several well-known animals that comprise our everyday diet – including cows, chickens, and pigs – would appear if they were able to achieve their full life expectancy.

Timed for Earth Day, it’s part of a global ad campaign pointing out that these animals would live considerably longer if they weren’t part of the human diet. The natural lifespan of a cow, for example, is 49 years, while a pig can live for up to 23 years. 

Created using AI, the ads show the animals with greyer hair, more ear hair, a few wrinkles and perhaps a hint of a world-weary expression. According to NotCo, these animals typically live only a few months or in some cases just days when used for meat.

NotCo says that global food production based on animal farming uses up to one-third of the earth’s surface and emits more CO2 than all of the world’s transportation combined. The company uses a proprietary AI technology called Giuseppe that analyzes the structure of animal-derived food at a molecular level in order to replicate the flavour, texture and smell of meat-based products using only plants.

“At NotCo, we believe A.I. is the key to unlocking a bright new future of food because it has the ability to eliminate our reliance on animal-based food production,” says co-founder and CEO Matias Muchnick. “We asked ourselves a simple question, ‘When was the last time we saw an old cow – have we actually ever seen one?’ The answer was no, so we turned to a different type of A.I. to give us an accurate look. We were astonished with what we saw and think people will be too.”

The campaign is the first for NotCo since this month’s arrival of new chief marketer Fernando Machado, who previously oversaw marketing for Burger King. Its Canadian products include NotBurger and NotMilk, with NotChicken debuting later this year.

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