Tuesday, October 09, 2007

An online campaign to boycott Kettle Foods has launched following reports of anti-trade union behaviour at its Norwich factory – two groups, Boycott Kettle Crisps for attacks on workers and Boycott Kettle Crisps: the Anti-Trade Union snack, have been formed on Facebook.

The groups have already attracted well over 100 members while debate on whether or not to boycott the crispmaker has made its way to other websites as well.

The trouble started when the press revealed that US union busters were called in to deter workers at a factory from joining a union. So what we are seeing here is another example of the power consumers now have to voice their opinions on a brand’s behaviour. For now the Kettle situation is not a full blown PR disaster, but already there’s a fair amount of anti-kettle sentiments online – enough for me to hear about it!

Search the phrase Kettle Chips in Google, on the first page of the search results an article from the Guardian reporting the company’s actions at its Norwich factory can easily be found

Having a bunch of dedicated netizens going around saying that they, along with their family and friends, will never ever buy another Kettle product again is not exactly a great way to build up strong brand affinity. Especially if they are saying things like, buying Kettle Chips means you support union-busting activities and unfair treatment of workers.

According to the report in the Guardian, the company does appear to have a decent reputation when it comes to unions BUT the problem is Kettle seems content to keep silent about the issue.

Another mistake perhaps…

1 comment:

martin said...

the membership of the two facebook groups has now passed the 500 mark, clearly this has hit a nerve.

whether kettlefoods treat their employees well isn't the issue, the issue is the right of employees to join a union. Something Kettlefoods clearly have a problem with.

and this sort of thing can affect the reputation of the brand. Unfortunately as they are owned by a private equity firm, it doesn't affect the share price. If sales did drop, it could affect the sale price of kettlefoods , should the private equity group decide to sell it.