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Hot Dog Vender:Got no opinions Sir, they’re bad for business

Inherit the Wind 1960

One of the values of a being either company operating in a niche market, or serving primarily a niche market is that if you have strong political opinions consistent with said niche market you can release them in public secure in the knowledge that such a move will not hurt the bottom line.

Another type of company with this advantage is one that sells a unique product that can not be easily obtained elsewhere.  When that is the case the customer base, no matter how offended by a particular public opinion, particularly a business, will have no choice but to swallow it’s pride and continue to use said company.

Neither of these would be considered accurate description of the Kellogg’s’ corporation.

Kellogg, citing ‘values,’ joins growing list of companies that pledged to stop advertising in Breitbart News

From the story

The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values.Kellogg’s has announced that it will pull all advertising from the site. The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values.

Breitbart is not amused

Kellogg’s offered no examples of how Breitbart’s 45 million monthly readers fail to align with the breakfast maker’s values. Indeed, the move appears to be one more example of an out-of-touch corporation embracing false left-wing narratives used to cynically smear the hard working Americans that populate this nation’s heartland.

Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow encouraged the boycott of Kellogg’s products, describing their war against Breitbart News as bigoted and anti-American: “Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers. Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

In response, Breitbart launched its #DumpKelloggs petition to encourage its vast readership and the followers of its #1 in the world political Facebook and Twitter pages to ban bigotry from the breakfast table by boycotting Kellogg’s products. 

Given the results of the election, the fact that the former Chair of Breitbart is now the strategic advisor for the Trump administration and that alternatives to the products offered by Kellogg’s made by other companies abound, this public statement, as opposed to something more generic like claiming they are simply decreasing advertising on political news sites post election, would seem to have been an ill advised PR move.   The trending #dumpkelloggs hashtag on twitter, the eruptions on facebook with the loss of 2% of the stock’s value would suggest this,  so I decided to try & find out what Kellogg’s had to say about it directly.

I called Kellogg’s Consumer affairs line at 1-800-962-1413. I had a very long wait before I spoke to a very busy young lady who informed me that the line was for product related inquiries and that she didn’t have a media contact number but she did have both a number for corporate 269-961-2000 and HR 1-877-694-7554 that she was kind enough to give me.

From there I called the Corporate number. The switchboard operator transferred me to the media relations department but before she did commented that while she had only fielded 2 calls on the subject her co-worker next to here was inundated with them with all but one call objecting to the move.

I reached the voice mail of the media contact leaving a message with both my phone number and email address seeking comment before this piece went live. As of this writing I have not been contacted by either method which means I didn’t get a chance to ask any questions concerning Kellogg’s statement on values. Here are some obvious ones they raise first about how the decision came to be:

Given that this was a very public move by a major corporation whose product is sold in practically every single town in every single state blue and red, what was the procedure that led to this decision?

Who made the initial suggestion for this move?

Was the company approached by an outside entity concerning Breitbart or was this raised internally?

How Much discussion went into making this decision?

How many people were involved in making this decision and when the decision was made was it reached unanimously?

Who drafted the initial statement and at how many levels was said statement approved before it was released to the media?

Those are all statements concerning “cause”, I also have a few on “effect”

as Kellogg’s considers the breitbart sites to be inconsistent with their values, or as Hillary Clinton would say “Deplorable”, do they consider the 46 million readers of Breitbart site equally “deplorable” or inconsistent with the values of Kellogg’s?

Given that the former CEO of Breitbart now has a high position, some would say the most trusted position in the incoming Trump administration does their statement also mean that Kellogg’s considers the values of the incoming Trump administration and the voters who elected them, including in the state of Michigan inconsistent with the values espoused by Kelloggs?

Given that Breitbart.com is inconsistent with the values of Kelloggs will Kelloggs decide that readers and supporters of the Breitbart site need not apply for the positions offered at the site & promoted on Twitter under the Kellogg’s jobs site and that current readers of the Breitbart site employed by Kelloggs should consider finding other work?

And finally one on the aftermath of all of this

Given the rise of the #dumpkelloggs hashtag, the apparent large volume of calls complain and the apparent conclusion by conservatives on social media that their business is no longer desired by Kellogg’s and the implications that has for both the stock price and the bottom line for the company, what affirmative steps, if any, is the company planning to assure these very upset customers that they are valued members of the Kellogg’s customer community or do they plan to wait it out?

If I get a response before I leave for my overnight job I’ll include it here or in an update if any shows up after the post goes up.

Exit Question:  Isn’t this either a class action or a “hostile work environment” case just waiting to erupt on Kellogg’s?

Update:  edited initial paragraph for clarity


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