My husband and I have Sigg water bottles. Have you heard of the brand? It’s what all the cool kids use to cart around their water. Better for the environment than plastic bottles and better than a lot of sports bottles because they’re BPA-free. BPA, or Bisphenol-A, is considered toxic by some countries (Canada has banned it) and is a source of controversy here in the States. Nevertheless, the environmentally conscious, and certainly Sigg’s consumers, are all about BPA-free bottles. So Sigg promoted themselves as BPA-free and they basically lied. It turns out their liners do contain small amounts of BPA. They did a little verbal sleight-of-hand by saying that their bottles didn’t “leach” BPA in tests.
They knew what they were saying. They knew it was dishonest. That they didn’t know they’d get caught is shocking and stupid.
I honestly don’t think there’s enough BPA in the bottles for it to be a problem. But I’m pissed that they lied and I, like millions others, will never buy another Sigg bottle again. This is a bummer. I liked them so much I’ve blogged about them on my personal blog. Even bought a cute custom wrap for my husband’s bottle.
And the CEO of Sigg does not seem to know a lick about damage control. Sure, he claims to be reading and responding to emails personally. But then he goes and says stupid things like, “if retailers keep our old bottles on the shelf, there’s nothing we can do about that.” (I’m paraphrasing slightly.) Dude! You should be out front, apologizing, replacing bottles like crazy, getting independent testing to verify that your bottles and liners are now 100% BPA-free, etc. Actually, you should resign and let someone else clean up your mess. Because you lied. You double downed on your lie when questioned about it, and you’ve broken the consumer’s trust. That’s hard to win back. And since nobody will trust a word you say, you should step aside and let someone else try to mend the fences.
I would not want to be this guy’s PR firm.
I once worked for a guy who asked me to lie to the media. I looked at him like he had two heads and refused. He told me that I was his Vice President, that I was playing in the big leagues, and that I needed to do what was expected of me. Regrettably, I didn’t tell him to go f-himself. Fortunately, the magazine did not pick up the story and none of us had to decide whether we were going to do as we were told or risk losing our jobs.
If Sigg’s CEO had really come clean and reached out as I described above, his customers might be forgiving. As it is, he just handed his competitors several market share points. Kleen Kanteen, here I come!
Footnote: I tried to link to Sigg’s Facebook page but it’s disappeared. Is some ticked off fan messing with them? Or are they shutting down their community to avoid letting people have a place to post negative messages? Do they actually think the conversation will stop? No, it’ll just move on to someplace else where they won’t get to insert their voice . . . like Twitter or blogs. Stupid, stupid, stupid.