brands under fire

Amid Marketing Pushback, Chobani Learns that #WordsMatter

Posted by Nate Bartell on June 6, 2014 06:33 PM

What seemed like smart marketing turned into a headache for Chobani as their #HowMatters campaign has transformed from a seemingly good-hearted platform to a legal and ethical mess.

The campaign, which debuted during this year's Super Bowl and ran througout the Winter Olympics and The Oscars, has met criticism from Dov Seidman, the CEO of business consultancy LRN, who claims that the catchphrase was stolen from the founding principle featured on his company’s website. Seidman has also written a book entitled “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything,” from which he believes Chobani extrapolated their controversial marketing campaign title.

Suing for damages based on trademark infringement, Seidman's argument hinges on a small, social detail: a tweet that Chobani sent Seidman back in January, thanking him for inspiring the "how" movement, and asking for his help in supporting their cause.

Seidman, however, isn’t the only one who has complained about Chobani’s marketing tactics. After the yogurt company stamped its product lids with the phrase, “Nature got us to 100 calories, not scientists. #HowMatters,” it seems the entire science community has become incensed, using the brand's campaign hashtag to point out just how many ingredients in Chobani's yogurt have indeed been developed using science. 

Again, this isn't the first time that the company's all-natural claims have got it in trouble. Once the darling of the booming greek yogurt market, Chobani has seen serious pushback from consumers and retailers alike that say the product contains milk from cows that feed on GMOs—a big no-no among natural grocers like Whole Foods

Chobani has since discontinued the lids and apologized for the "tongue-in-cheek" statement, but it's obvious that the once-golden brand has a lot of polishing to do if it wants to regain the trust of loyal yogurt-eating consumers. 

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