Beware of the Dominoes of Deception

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“Do brands lie by not telling the truth?”

I asked that question a few years ago in a blog post that admonished brands for not openly disclosing their corporate ownership. 

Burt’s Bees is owned by Clorox, for example. Tom’s of Maine is a Colgate brand. I can now add Kashi to that list, after learning recently that the company is owned by Kellogg. 

You won’t find that information on Kellogg’s website. And you really have to really dig to unearth a one-line mention at Kashi.com. (Searches on both sites yielded “no results.”) 

I’m sure both Kellogg and Kashi can rationalize their subterfuge. But consumers still view such “legal” deceptions as lies, especially when other issues arise.  

Kashi is discovering that the hard way, as it struggles to defend itself against claims that its “natural” products contain genetically modified soy ingredients and traces of pesticides

For consumers who now learn about Kellogg’s ownership as a result of this controversy, the deception launches a domino-effect of lost trust. As one consumer wrote on Kashi’s Facebook page:

“Yours is the only brand cereal I have bought for years. Not anymore! You are despicable. Everything you supposedly stand for is a lie.” 

Kellogg has made a pledge to “greater transparency” in its corporate responsibility report. That transparency should extend to full disclosure about the brands it owns—not only on Kellogg’s website but on the packaging of the products themselves.