Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week: Tide and AT&T


Brand Winner…

And Loser…


Marketing Doctor John Tantillo’s Winner and Loser of The Week

Winner: Tide


Loser:  AT&T



When people consistently steal your branded product because it is exceptionally easy to sell on the black market, you know you have brand equity that counts.

Folks, I’m talking about Procter & Gamble’s legendary laundry detergent Tide and the supposed nationwide crime wave of Tide stealing.

There’s question now of just how widespread this crime wave is, but there isn’t a question that even if this were proven to be an urban myth, the myth tells us about just how established Tide is and reminds us about P&G’s legendary marketing ability.

Even in tough times, the company is careful to protect brand equity and that really pays.  An FBI agent commenting on the Tide crime wave story said that the reason why Tide gets stolen is because its brand value makes it sought after currency on the street.

In fact, some of the fact-checking on the Tide story after it went viral last week revealed an even more interesting fact.  Tide stealing has been going on for an awfully long time.

As CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis said, “Theft of Tide is not a new issue in the retail industry.


Folks, Shakespeare was right about lawyers.  Some lawsuits are worth fighting but not many. 

Especially if you care about your brand but one of your customers is angry enough to take you to court.

Unfortunately, AT&T not only didn’t do enough to make Mr. Matt Spaccerelli happy with his service, they rubbed his nose in his unhappiness by refusing to pay the very modest sum the judge decided upon when Spaccerelli won the case against them.

Wow!  Talk about poor brand management (the company reversed itself at the end of the week but in my opinion the damage is already done).

This wasn’t a case of a company defending itself against an unfair judgement. Spaccerelli wasn’t taking them to the cleaners, he only wanted his money back and court costs. 

But by dragging its feet instead of settling –or, let’s face it, just being reasonable and letting Spaccerelli out of his contract in the first place which was all he wanted– AT&T ended up drawing a lot of unwanted attention to their data “throttling” procedures.  These procedures apparently mean that even though you might have an unlimited plan, it’s not really unlimited because it can be reduced if AT&T chooses to.

There’s nothing more to say.  This is just brand management at its worst.  End of story.

And remember, it’s always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.


TODAY’S TANTILLO TAKEAWAYBrands should never pick fights with their customers!








Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *