Nestle Family Controversy | A Few Thoughts

While I understand there may be people reading for the first time. I invite you to read my Welcome Page and learn more about how this blog is about saving money and being an encouragement. These are things I am passionate about.

While I briefly mentioned why I thought Nestle may have invited me, let me share something personal with you before you start slamming me and the millions of other Americans who use the brand because we want to save money. Yes, I saw your tweets being negative towards those who were tweeting me during the event to win coupons.

My Participation

Our youngest son was born knowing that he would need surgery. I started couponing heavily around the time of his surgery. A year after his surgery we had saved MORE than the cost of our out of pocket, which was quite a lot for our middle class family. Yes, we used Nestle – we also bought SEVERAL other brands because using coupons for those products made my grocery bill considerably less.

Fast forward to today, where my blog is nearly 2 years old. Our son is now healthy (praise God!). Because of the various brands offering coupons allowing us to purchase more for less, we didnt go into debt to ensure our child would have two operating kidneys. I will continue to use these brands in order to save even though our financial situation is different. We choose to put that savings towards causes or ministries that we feel moved to support.

Inappropriate Behavior

The Golden Rule is obviously thrown out the window when people debate online. Honestly, that is why I don’t discuss such items. You cannot change someone’s mind, especially when someone has been boycotting an issue for 30 years. It’s just not going to happen.

Name calling is so juvenile and middle school. We heard we were corporate shills, sell-outs, cheap brand ambassadors, we like *shiny* stuff, we would do anything for a FREE trip, name dropping well-known bloggers as to have their name associated with the controversy in an attempt to bring your message more status. I have a LOT of integrity and for people to make such claims was disheartening. It makes me think that people will do just about anything for a pageview, which is quite unfortunate.

Another good one was discussions about our compensation, or lack thereof, for the event. How is that anyone’s business? Oh, that’s right..it’s NOT!! There is no rule book on blogging! Besides, I haven’t seen any market data to say what we, as bloggers, should be paid in the first place!

Even though I disagree with the approach some activisits took to share the cause, I commend you for being passionate about a cause enough to drum up support. There are many who stay neutral on so many topics and don’t want to voice their issues. There were inappropriate comments from many people that were unnecessary and made people lose credibility.

Nestle Key Takeaways

And, some may call this *Corporate Speak* but I don’t see it as that. Nestle admitted their own naivete with the lack of social media presence on Twitter or Facebook. Part of the reason the bloggers were invited was to learn more about the company, but also share our ideas on how they can engage more in social media.

Executives were surprised that the Formula Marketing debate was still as heated. Key word is as – they knew it was there but didn’t realize how twitter could magnify it to the nth degree. Having that information, the first question out of our mouths to the CEO was if Nestle complies with the WHO code for countries who adopt the code. You can see my response in the previous video I shared.

I understand that many think we were told what we *wanted to hear* and you are dead wrong. We asked questions and we each will choose to decipher the responses as individuals. What I will say is that they gave me responses that were satisfactory to the questions.

I didn’t see these as rehearsed messages either. I have worked with Executive staff, up to the CEO and Chairman of the Board. I think I am good at deciphering the BS (forgive me ;). Honestly, an executive is the great mouthpiece and strategist. It is the employees beneath him/her that take the heat and usually know the more detailed answers. It’s his/her job to hire the talented individuals who know their stuff. We did meet a lot of those people that know their stuff and have passion about this topic. I care more about integrity almost to a fault (and if you read my site, you know that). I met a lot of people who have integrity.

Community Awareness

I am bringing this up in this debate because the claims are quite relatable. Nestle does a LOT for the community. But, I specifically asked what they are doing in other countries to ensure there is clean drinking water. That seemed to be a large issue with the formula issue. But, even leave the debate of marketing formula aside, my larger concern is the lack of clean drinking water. Not just for babies who are using formula but for everyone.

Nestle briefly shared their work they are doing in Africa building wells. They also do quite a bit in the community and Feeding America. Again, since we were speaking with Nestle USA, there wasn’t much time to get into the global awareness and we weren’t with the appropriate audience to give us the answers.

The *So What* of It All

Despite what Nestle has or hasn’t done, there are broader issues I see from reading briefly on the claims against the company: childhood education, clean drinking water, mother/baby education. I’m not taking alleged ownership off of Nestle. I’m just saying that if your boycott and twitter storm doesn’t work, find a more effective way to make a difference. If you are interested, check out this massive list with World Vision to consider donating funds. I’m sure you have your own organization that would do this too.

Nestle isnt perfect. Nestle didnt profess to be perfect. We asked them the questions that others sent to us when bloggers were attacking us. Nestle offered to answer questions to those on twitter, and even have a phone conversation to answer questions. The twitter dialogue went on and I honestly don’t know if anyone felt satisfied with the responses they were given. I don’t think any of those activists for this cause would be happy with any response, honestly.

Future Nestle Support/Relationship

Looking back, after seeing all the names I have been called I would still make the same decision to attend this event. There, I said it. And, its for the very reason I introduce above: my site is about saving money and Nestle is a brand that I promote each week (if the stuff is on sale and has a coupon, I’m going to promote it).

And, I know this is the part that many are waiting to see and then blast judgements. I use Nestle products and will continue to, and continue matching sales for the brand (and the hundreds of other brands I match) here on this site. My support does not condone any alleged misconduct, my support is for a greater purpose. One that, if you have not been in financial hardship or without hope, you may not understand.

As I mentioned, Nestle supports causes in the US that I support. I see a relationship with Nestle going forward for me – blog aside – to make an impact on my community. I dont know what will come out the event, but I am open to getting support from them for the greater good. I’m not talking about giveaways or personal gain in any of this.

Key Takeaways

  • The internet creates false sense of safety for people to behave in ways that would make their mom probably slap them in the mouth!
  • People will judge you before they know you.
  • People like to provoke irritation. It doesn’t even matter what it is, they will do it. Telling them to *Lay Off PLS* doesn’t work either :)

Again, these are merely my thoughts…as someone who was actually there. As someone who saw the comments in between tweets, gasping to see some people behave the way. I may have tried to make light of the situation, but when people call you a *baby killer* that is kinda hard to do.

Going Forward

At the end of the day, just ask yourself this: are you using your influence and energy to do something productive? Take a step back at the bigger picture and see how you can make a difference. If boycott is the answer, than boycott away! But, find a better strategy and share it with those who are passionate about this topic since their efforts have not worked in 30 years.

After reading some of the issues brought up and you feel called to do something productive to help the world be a better place, dont rely on Nestle. Rely on yourself! I know when I get where I’m going, I cant reason with God that I tried to do *XYZ* and couldn’t because of someone else. It’s all up to how I live my life and being the child that He wants me to be.

Disclaimer: Nestle did not ask me to write this post, I wanted to write this post! All travel, incidentals and products were paid in full/received for this event. That does not affect the content I share with you here – the views and thoughts are all ME! My disclosure can explain anything you could ever want to know about anything that may need disclosing :)

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on October 06, 2009

22 Comments

  • Candace - October 06, 2009 @ 9:17 am
    1

    The implication that bloggers who were tweeting objections to Nestle don’t do anything else is as insulting as the implication that all the bloggers at Nestle are unconcerned about the allegations

    I’ve commented extensively elsewhere so I will try to be as brief as I can.

    My impression from a fairly close reading of the stream was that the vast majority of “protesters” were not attacking the bloggers who went. I was disappointed in those who thought child or slave labor was a subject for levity–or even one properly juxtaposed with jokes. That just strikes me as callous. However, most of these people were not attending, so I do not blame the attendees for this, just as you should not blame legitimate protesters for the behavior of a few trolls.

    Now, if someone is compensated, they will need to disclose that–if not the exact amount. And even without recent changes to the law, I would argue that bloggers do ethically need to tell their readers if they were compensated in some way so that their readers can judge for themselves if it biases the writer. I don’t agree with the new rules from the FCC, but I do think disclosure (which you did give) is an important part of that trust you have with your audience.

    As to whether or not the bloggers there could parse the corporate double speak…I am sure some could.

    I can tell you that I caught them in at least one disingenuous answer. They gave a hotline as an example of breastfeeding support when it is no such thing, as they later admitted when pressed. The key part is “when pressed”. Something that it is hard for even the toughest, most experienced journalist to do during a quick Q&A sandwiched between photo ops.

    If you ask about slave labor, the links they give you show pledges signed…but they signed pledges years ago and have taken no concrete action.

    So, if you bought what they said, no…I do not believe you were listening with a critical ear.

    Now, you lack of cynicism may make you a happier, possibly even nicer person…but the fact that I believe Nestle’s “proof” fails to pass muster does not make mean or rude.

    • mommysnacks - October 06, 2009 @ 11:31 am
      1.1

      Candace, very good points! Not everyone was attacking us, but it was overwhelming. And, I don’t agree with inappropriate comments from either side of the fence – they were provoking more than being productive.

      As you said, I did disclose about this. I do disclose about everything I do with giveaway or events. The whole FTC conversation is another topic entirely. But, I felt it important to share my side because my audience uses coupons – and the other side because I felt it was important to voice my thoughts. Of course, all were disclosed and Nestle did NOT ask us to do any of it. As a matter of fact, in the meetings they said they would completely understand if we wanted to leave the event that day, given the controversy.

      Nestle shared a breastfeeding line for us, but I missed them recounting that the line had actual breastfeeding support. Again, I wasn’t watching the entire twitter stream though since we were quite busy.

      I don’t think you are mean and rude. I think you have brought up valid points respectfully, which many do not understand how to do. I’m not trying to be a happy and nice person. I like to be that way because having joy creates a much better outlook for me. I simply tried to be objective – despite what you think – throughout all of this. And, I will continue so as I read more materials from both sides on the topic.

  • Annie - October 06, 2009 @ 10:21 am
    2

    Andrea,
    I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through these past days! I’m not up on the history of this contreversy, but I do have my own issues with multi-national conglomerates (totally not the point of this comment). However, after spending 5 years living, working, and having 2 children in Africa… I can imagine where folks’ problems lie. If you want to email me privately to discuss my experiences, I’d love to talk… or we could meet up – I’m not far from you.
    Peace… Annie

    • mommysnacks - October 06, 2009 @ 11:03 am
      2.1

      Annie, I need to find time to do that! Obviously, this is a very interesting and important discussion.

  • Janeen - October 06, 2009 @ 10:37 am
    3

    I was out of the loop on what was going on with Nestle (apparently that’s a good thing) and I want to thank you for taking the time to sort out some of the facts. It is a shame people have been disrespectful. But then people disrespected Christ all the time. He was constantly attacked. Sorry you had to go through that, I know it can hurt. Thanks for sharing!

  • Amy - October 06, 2009 @ 10:39 am
    4

    I don’t think I’ve told you this, but I LOVE YOU! Lol… seriously.

    I hated the way ppl on Twitter were treating you bloggers. Right or wrong (and, I am on your side with this…), that is NO way to treat others. The verbal abuse you bloggers endured was unfair and unfounded.

    Great post!

    • mommysnacks - October 06, 2009 @ 11:13 am
      4.1

      Amy and Janeen – thanks for your support. Janeen, I thought of exactly that comment too – everyone gets disrespected even the One who gave it all for us.

  • Julie Curry - October 06, 2009 @ 11:14 am
    5

    It’s a shame that some people can’t just be excited for the opportunities that someone else might receive. I think it was great that you are invited, and how many of us WOULDNT jump at the chance to go to that? First of all, a person’s personal feelings of Nestle should NOT be reflected on you. Second, whatever negative feelings had towards Nestle should be presented to NESTLE in a civil, ADULT manner. Hopefully, everyone realizes now that acting in such a childish manner doesn’t get anything accomplished! Thirdly, you have the right to get some compensation for what you are doing! This is your job, and you do a darn good job at bringing all of us deals and coupons and match-ups! Pat yourself on the back as one of the perks of your job, and ignore those who are so wrapped up in themselves that they can’t see how their negativaty is so very hurtful to others!

  • Miriam - October 06, 2009 @ 11:34 am
    6

    I didn’t follow any of the Nestle thing other than what you’ve posted, but I do want to say that what you said here was WELL SAID. While I could tell that there were plenty things that you did/didn’t like, you were very respectful in how you said what you did. Bravo.

    • mommysnacks - October 06, 2009 @ 11:38 am
      6.1

      Thanks, Miriam! I try to be respectful in everything, and honestly I was more shocked at times to even respond!

  • PJ Mullen - October 06, 2009 @ 12:05 pm
    7

    Excellent write up, I’m still organizing my thoughts and will probably have to break it into two as well.

  • Heidi - October 07, 2009 @ 1:14 am
    8

    Your comments on this section were right on target. The bottom line is, you are not going to change the minds of folks who don’t want their minds changed. What ultimately matters is where you stand between you and God, and are you honoring Him with your actions/reactions to what is essentially, persecution. Maybe not religious persecution, but from what you described, you were getting personal attacks that are just the same. I’ve been a subscriber for over a year and I would attest to your commitment to integrity. One of your commenters described it well: ” basically the world is a terrible place, where terrible things happen and are happening, and we can’t lay all of it at Nestle’s feet. ” [Its sin!]
    I just want to encourage you not to give up in spite of others who would try and beat you down under the cowardly cover of “anonymity”. Take away the brand name Nestle and insert any other major corporation, lifestyle choice or even our own government for that matter and you’ll get a segment who feels it is their job to attack anyone who associates with them or doesn’t attack them.
    You, your blog, your personal insights and humor have been an encouragement and a blessing to me (and therefore indirectly my family) and I want to encourage you right back by telling you to keep your eyes on the ultimate prize, and know that you will be rewarded in Heaven for your integrity here on Earth. Don’t give up (fight the good fight and all that….), and I’m proud of you for not losing your temper (that we could tell anyways) and continuing to have your blog and your life be a testimony to your Faith. Keep on rockin’ the web, and thank you for what you do.

    • mommysnacks - October 07, 2009 @ 11:07 am
      8.1

      Heidi, you’re not just saying that because I gave you an awesome noodle recipe are you?? :) Very valid points throughout your comment. I will definitely keep on rockin’ until I feel it’s time to start rollin’ :)

  • Gail Devlin - October 07, 2009 @ 7:39 am
    9

    Andrea, many years ago I wrote a letter to the editor complaining about the license renewal system in my home town. I got several responses, by mail since there was no internet in 1972, most helpful and kind. But one anonymous writer filled his letter with the most denegrating, vitriolic thoughts. There are all kinds of people in this world, some hateful, spiteful, unhappy and others filled with love and kindness. Ignore and pray for those so miserable they would inflict their venom on innocents. Please don’t waste your time defending what I consider to be a huge public service.

    • mommysnacks - October 07, 2009 @ 11:06 am
      9.1

      Gail, thanks for the comment. I am not really defending Nestle, but kind of wanted to do this post to share what I have learned more so in the social media space. And, since some people wanted to attack me I guess part of my defense was in that. Which is really pointless since I know people will say what they want and think what they want without knowing me – or the other bloggers – personally. I guess I just wanted to try…good advice though. Putting energy into something more positive is more productive.

  • Shelly - October 07, 2009 @ 10:17 am
    10

    Well, I totally missed the controversy over the Nestle trip, but I have to say, when I checked your blog today and saw the post about the trip my heart sank a little. I do personally feel that these kind of events are becoming too common – the whole ‘Mommy’ blog sensation is really a huge marketing gift that has been handed to these companies. You have a loyal readership that trusts you completely. What better audience for Nestle (and other companies) to pitch their products to? Putting on an event like this is probably money well-spent for them – far less expensive than traditional advertising and, I would guess, far more effective. You feel loyal to them because they gifted you with many items and you will pass that onto your readers. To me, this is an unhealthy co-mingling. Do I like hearing great deals about Nestle products? Yes. Do I want to hear gushing reviews and see a bunch of blog giveaways for Nestle? No. (As a matter of fact, I have been avoiding more and more blogs that do this and just going straight to forums like Slick Deals to avoid the advertising.)

    I do think it is fair and expected for bloggers to disclose what they have been given to their readers. It’s the law now for one thing, and I think full disclosure is the only way to remain ethical when you’re receiving expensive trips and gifts.

    People really shouldn’t try to turn this into a religious thing either, that’s just silly.

    • mommysnacks - October 07, 2009 @ 11:03 am
      10.1

      Shelly, I do agree that these types of trips are a good investment for brands as well. However, I don’t feel loyal to Nestle at all. I am simply not brand loyal to much, honestly. And, the gifts I did receive I gave away to people who came to support my Office Max party. Some were readers, my neighbors, teachers. I used them how I wanted to.

      I do agree with you, my readership trusts me. That trust is something I’m not willing to compromise for anything – even a paycheck. When I share about these trips (and I’ve been on a few, if you’ve been a long-time reader you will see how I’ve shared before), my goal is to simply share my perspective not promote and glorify the brand. Quite honestly, Nestle really doesn’t need me to do that since they are doing pretty well according to their balance sheet. Of course, I had a little explaining to do given the controversy.

      Actually, I have worked with Frito-Lay in the past. I actually haven’t done one giveaway and that would be relevant too since it’s a food brand that I do match coupons for. I am assuming my relationship with Nestle would be the same way. I have several giveaways I need to do and simply don’t have the time. Giveaways take time. They are fun and I’m glad to have them to offer to readers, but there are just times I want to use my time to add more value to my site with content and money-saving deals.

      Also, I have always disclosed gifts in some way and I am glad the FTC finally has guidelines for bloggers to follow. I just wish they would do something about the spam blogs out there. But, at least these guidelines are a start.

      I don’t think people are turning this into a religious thing. Many are sharing their perspective and if God is part of that (which is it for me), then that is their perspective. I would want people to be authentic (God or not) in how they comment and respond in anything. I don’t think it’s silly whatsoever. Personally, I look to see how I can be a light in every situation, and I think my readers see that. I take that same attitude when I get to do trips or speak publicly. For me, everything I do and how I react is all about WWJD.

  • Sarah - October 07, 2009 @ 10:58 am
    11

    To say this topic is controversial is quite the understatement!

    I just wanted to point out a few simple things.

    First, you have a great blog that offers a great service for many people (myself included). I hope you don’t change and aren’t negatively affected by the rude and unhappy people who try to bring others down.

    Second, to me this is a bit like a political debate or an election – you aren’t going to make everyone happy over this topic no matter what, so you might as well not try. That is not to say you shouldn’t share your viewpoint and try to have others see it, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up over how people side at the end of the day. You are doing the best you can and trying to be as honest as you can and that is all anyone can ask for! :)

    Third, it is simply immaturity when people leave comments anonymously that are mean spirited or rude. True healthy debate is ok as long as it is done respectfully. I think everyone knows this but some people choose to ignore common courtesy.

    Lastly, it is crazy to me how people can be so dead set against one company – though I know it is a huge one! I guarantee you that every single company out there does at least one or two things in their business practices that would make at least a few people gasp! We just don’t always hear about it! This company has come under fire in a big way and I am not saying they have done nothing wrong. But it is funny how so many people can pick on one company when others are probably doing the same things or possibly worse! I hope it doesn’t make me lazy, but I don’t know a lot about the controversy and I don’t plan on getting too involved. I think that spending my whole life worrying about things like this will wear me down and take my focus off of what is really important. (God and eternity).

    It is interesting how Shelly said that this shouldn’t be a religious thing either. To that I say, it isn’t religion to me, it is my faith and my faith defines me and everytrhing I do, so there is no way to take it out of the equation and I think it is the same for you, Andrea! You have to mention it in this debate because it affects how you view this whole thing and how you react or don’t react.

    I think you an awesome lady and I will be sure to pray for you! Take care!

  • It was very nice to have met you, Andrea. Though, I do wish our time together was, you know, less stressful. I’m glad it happened, though. It’s quite a learning experience (for everyone) and I look forward to the blogosphere moving forward and learning some very important lessons learned from this event.

    Using our blogging powers for good is what we moms do best :)

    • mommysnacks - October 07, 2009 @ 3:00 pm
      12.1

      Liz, abso-stinkin-lutely!!! Moms can rock it out the best with our blogging powers! :)

  • Jamie - October 08, 2009 @ 2:02 am
    13

    I just have to pipe in here and say that I think the fact that there was any drama at all involving something so simple, and people debating and protesting over that is almost laughable.

    Since when do people think that Nestle owes them anything? I mean when you really think about it, companies that are huge and massive like that and others that are for-profit still use their money and resources to do alot of good things in the world and whiny people expect – NO, DEMAND more from them. As if they are entitled.
    Lame. Go protest a U2 concert or something… Let corporations do their thing, and let the bloggers save or make a buck.

  • Jeong-Ok - November 15, 2009 @ 9:14 pm
    14

    Your right should be supported by those who buy commodities for the sake of their kids’ health.
    Therefore, those who are sponsored by the businesses have good reasons to have the rights to look around for the purpose of their kids’ bright future.
    It’s because your trips give lots of moms who raise kids much profitable information on what something invaluable to buy for their kids.
    It’s not what you try to get much selfish profit but what your kids’ are like in the future that matters.
    I hope you don’t lose your patience to raise your kids healthily!!!

    From a high school teacher of South Korea.

Leave a Comment