SIGG's choice comes back to haunt ~ Brand Mix

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SIGG's choice comes back to haunt

Photo: ensign_at_e233net (Flickr CC)

Here's how SIGG CEO Steve Wasik positions the fact that SIGG bottles made before August 2008 contained BPA: "To be clear, all SIGG bottles made since August 2008 contain our new BPA free EcoCare liner. SIGG bottles manufactured prior to August 2008 have the former water‐based epoxy liner which contains trace amounts of BPA. These bottles have been thoroughly tested and showed 0% leaching of BPA. It is easy to determine which liner you have, as they are of 2 distinctly different colors."

Here's how Gawker translates that: "Haha: Those shockingly expensive Sigg water bottles beloved by yuppies and hippies for being free of some specific deadly chemical did in fact contain that deadly chemical. Do we spy the hand of The Creator?"

The great success of SIGG over the last few years has come from the fact, as Marketing News points out that it "became a badge of consumer eco-consciousness and all-around cool." As people worried about the waste and the potential toxity of plastic bottles with BPA, SIGG bottles presented themselves as safe and attractive alternatives. As the tidal wave of opportunity swept by, SIGG jumped in even though, as it turns out, they weren't quite ready.

How much of a backlash there will be remains to be seen. Competitors such as CamelBak and Klean Kanteen sense an opportunity and environmental groups are reacting with everything from disappointment to outrage. The CEO letter doesn't seem to have doused the flames but the offer to replace the old bottles with new ones looks like a step in the right direction if the exchange is set up in a relatively painless way for the consumer.

SIGG made its choice. What would you have done? Would you have gone for it too? Or would you have waited and maybe missed the boat?


Anonymous said...

I read Sigg's CEO letter and was surprised that it wasn't more sensitive to the consumer, mainly parents of young children. I think Sigg's need to do some serious damage control- offer refunds, apologize, etc...
Will be interesting to see what happens next.
I am glad I never bought one for my son. We have a Crocodile Creek drinking bottle.

Brand Strategy said...

It must need to consider the market, and the consumer. specifically parents of young children.

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