Two Horrific Business Stories
I remember visiting a very wealthy friend who had a splendid estate right on the water in Marblehead, Mass. The path from the house to the tennis court went through a stand of pine trees where a collection of tiny gravestones lined the walkway. It was a pet cemetery—the burial ground for family dogs and cats going back to the 19th century.
Pet owners become deeply attached to their animals, and the joint suicide of a childless couple in India over the passing of a beloved canine may be extreme, but entirely believable. “Puppy” was very likely the only family they felt that they had.
My wife, Peggy, and I have an orange tabby cat and a feisty black-and-white Cocker Spaniel named Auggie, age 9. A fair part of my day is spent dealing with what goes into—and what comes out of—Auggie.
On the advice of our vet, Auggie is on quite pricey, low-residue Eukanuba dry food. Suddenly, Eukanuba is all over the media not only for making cats and dogs deathly ill with kidney failure, but also for killing legions of pets all over the United States and Canada.
Mercifully, Auggie’s dry food is not affected, but some 60+ million cans and pouches of wet food have been recalled. Not only are Iams/Eukanuba caught in the mess, but also a total of 53 brands of dog food and 42 brands of cat food. Included are the high profile Science Diet, Mighty Dog, and a slew of private label products from such well-known corporations as Food Lion, Foodtown, White Rose, Winn Dixie, Super Fresh/A&P (America’s Choice) and Publix.
If 53 brands of dog food and 42 brands of cat food all contain the same ingredients and are produced in the same manufacturing facility, then isn’t the entire concept of “brand” and “branding” shot to hell?