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Beefs and Beliefs

Beef Videos Pump Up Beef

Beef Checkoff funds films on beef producers but are they too long to go “viral?”

The Beef Checkoff has funded three new videos to counter the anti-industry rhetoric.

The board’s news release says these videos are made by student film-makers and specifically targeted at “millennials.” These are basically the children of baby boomers, born between 1979 and 1995. They are 80 million strong and are now arriving as the major force in many markets and in the workplace of this country.

Checkoff spokeswoman Melissa Slagle says the idea is to give consumers a behind-the-scenes view of how beef gets from pasture to plate. The three film-makers had no close ties to agriculture, so this was an educational experience for them

If you want to watch these videos, go to

I applaud the Beef Checkoff folks for trying to reach these young Americans. They are the future.

However, I fear these videos may not be the ones to do that job.

Each video is 20 minutes or longer. Considering they’re aimed at millennials who have even shorter attention spans than I do, it seems unlikely to me they will watch them, even if they find them.

I say that because I have a vested interest in the topic but I just couldn’t muster the time or interest to watch my way completely through any of the three videos. I scanned them and listed to pieces.

To this end, I checked several websites to see how long the most popular videos, those often called “viral” because they spread from viewer to viewer so rapidly. Most really hot videos are 30 seconds to two minutes. I didn’t find one that was much over four minutes.

I’d say it would better to break these up into little segments a few minutes long and then get people to watch them. Make them flashier, with quicker sound bytes and succinct messages.

I’ve been reading about these young people. That study and my personal experience with them says they have really, really short attention spans. They grew up with Sesame Street, laptop computers and smart phones. If you don’t capture their attention and hold it they’re off to the races, texting friends or finding a new “app” for their phones or reading something that does capture their attention.

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