Friday, December 30, 2011

The Bread War



The above has been enjoying widespread circulation in cyberspace! I find this plea to be racist although I have no qualms about boycotting products and companies if they really promote CSR, i.e. cronyism, sexism and racism. But I would be lying if I said that it will be easy to follow through with this entreaty. Who practices CSR if not BN? And we all know that the BN tentacles spread far and wide – which businesses out there are not affiliated in some way to the duplicitous BN? Nearly everything is, kan?

Still, I am amused to know that Gardenia put out a full-page advertorial to supposedly set the record straight. Check out The Sun today on page 12. I don’t know if this call for boycott by a person or persons unknown has hurt this bread company. But their official response was quirky. I mean the company talked about how “Gardenia is everything that a good Malaysian company should be. [They] employ highly professional and ethical people regardless of race or religion. [Their] employees respect each other and to further promote and foster fellowship, [they] have these posters all around our workplace”. Within seconds of reading this platitudinous verbiage, I found I had goose pimples!

One of these posters is shown below:


Image credit: http://notakosong.com/tag/gardenia/

And it is so clich├ęd and corny! Besides, I think Gardenia is over-reacting! After all, Massimo is also just introduced into the Malaysian market – so certainly, people are going to try this new brand. What’s more, at an introductory offer price of only RM2.50. Of course, existing brands will suffer in the immediate- to short-term and their sales can be expected to be cannibalized. A good marketer will counter this with localized promotions where Massimo is apparently making headway.


This online campaign urges bread consumers in Malaysia to stop supporting super-wealthy Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary (owner of 76.2% of rice monopoly Padiberas Nasional Berhad or Bernas which in turn owns 30% of Gardenia Bakeries) and start supporting another wealthy magnate, i.e. Robert Kuok (who controls PPB Group Berhad which in turn owns FFM Berhad and which owns 100% of The Italian Baker Sdn Bhd, the company that produces Massimo bread). Should anybody care one way or another?

Anyway, since I am on this subject, I am recommending that Malaysians buy bread from their local bakery instead! You cannot go wrong on this one because you will be supporting the local business in your neighborhood! Those two rich dudes don't need our money!

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