Friday, August 7, 2009


You knew what Whole Foods boss John Mackey was trying to get at – the need to educate shoppers about healthy options – when he commented to the Wall Street Journal that: “Basically, we used to think it was enough just to sell healthy food, but we know it is not enough. We sell all kinds of candy. We sell a bunch of junk.” Still the headline was too good to resist. “We sell a bunch of junk says Whole Foods boss John Mackey” shouted the Guardian UK’s headline, just one of many examples of the story being picked up. In Britain, media outlets like the Guardian tied the story in to the supermarket chain’s relative lack of success in that market. Lets face it, a comment like that opens you up to so many things your opponents can tie it to. And it can live on and on. The Internet provides a place where such comments can spread virally and remain seemingly forever on search engines. When you have a message track you want to deliver, it’s always best to ‘war game’ out the type of language you want to use to get you there. It’s true that Whole Foods attracted a lot of attention to the need to educate consumers through such tactics as information booths in their stores. But was it worth it? In this case, we think not.

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