In some ways, I feel totally cheated by this. I had no idea Tom's of Maine sold the farm to Colgate. I've been brushing my teeth with their toothpaste for years, I've been to their headquarters in Kennebunkport (which is a bonanza of free/cheap products), and I frickin' love their gingermint flavor. Love it.
Tom and Kate say they still have their values, and it's all about broadening their market (Wal-Mart) and bringing those values to more consumers, and they still donate ten percent of their profit, but you gotta wonder what those values are really all about. Especially since they chose not to disclose on their packaging that they're now owned by a global giant. Tom said, "I don't see why our customer would be interested in seeing a Colgate reference. Branding is really about values, and the Tom's of Maine values are intact. We are living those values, and that is what we need to reinforce among our consumers by investing in the Tom's of Maine logo, not confusing them with another logo."
Kate said, "It clarifies that we are still in Maine. It's important, a sense of place."
What? Maybe your summer house on Monhegan Island is still in Maine, and your factory is still in Maine, but this feels like finding out the man you love kills people for a living. World domination of the toothpaste market -- what kind of value is that?
Did anyone else see "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox" last week at the Red Vic? That company is still family-owned, they give away 70 percent of their net, profit share with their workers, and Ralph Bronner was still whipping out his wallet and passing out $100 bills on camera and presses hugs and bottles of soap on anyone he runs into. Guess I'm back to brushing with the peppermint Bronner's.