BrandSnark: Good Week/Bad Week for the Big Brands

Bold Week: PatagoniaPutting principles above profit, the high-end outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer (often referred to as “Patagucci”) took an on-brand stand against the Trump administration’s decision to dramatically slash – by 2 million acres – the size of the Bear’s Ear and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, posting an overlay reading “The President Stole Your Land” on its website. Billionaire founder and legendary mountaineer Yvon Chouinard isn’t done, vowing that he will sue in federal court to reverse the decision.

Good Week: Oprah (If you think she’s not a brand, welcome to Earth.) Discovery Communications paid Ms. Winfrey’s Harpo Productions $70 million for a majority stake in their jointly owned OWN cable channel. Probably amounts to a rounding error for the media titan.

Bad Week: Volkswagen A federal court (they’re busy these days) sentenced the former VW senior manager who directed the cover-up of the company’s scheme to evade pollution limits to seven years in prison, where he’s about to learn more about tailpipes than he ever cared to know.

Weak Week: Wal-Mart – The world’s largest retail chain announced that it will change its name from “Wal-Mart” to “Walmart,” hoping that eliminating the hyphen will make customers think beyond its 11,600 “bricks-n-mortar” stores in light of its recent acquisitions of online properties such as and Bonobos. I happen to think it’s a mad dash to the same destination.