Good Week: Starbucks – The ubiquitous caffeine-peddler will begin offering a calorie-free, plant-based sweetener as an alternative to sugar in 9,000 of its U.S. and Canadian cafes. Good for the body, but bad for the soul: you just know this is going to further slow the glacial pace as people (you know who you are) add yet another paragraph to their page-long coffee orders.
Bad Week: Deere & Co. – The U.S. Department of Justice plants an antitrust suit right in the lap of the iconic green-and-yellow agriculture equipment manufacturer, blocking its attempt to buy rival Monsanto’s Precision Planting equipment business. Too early to tell whether Monsanto gets a Dear John letter or John Deere gets a monopoly (or whether Bayer’s $56B bid for the entire Monsanto enterprise blossoms and makes the whole thing a moot point).
Worse Week: Wells Fargo – In a staggering, Volkswagen-level saga of deception and dishonesty, employees of the global banking giant were caught by federal regulators creating more than a million bogus bank and credit cards accounts – in the names of current customers – in order to boost their sales numbers and compensation. More than 5,300 “bankers” have been fired as a result and WF faces fines of up to $185M as the investigation continues. #StagecoachToBrandDamage