Our family eats together; dinner always, breakfast during the week, and lunch on weekends. Meals are served once and eaten by the four of us at our increasingly cramped dinette table. From a practical perspective, it keeps everyone from walking around the house with plates of food slopping over the sides and onto the carpet and furniture. It also means that we only have to co-ordinate one ‘sitting’ which means only one mess to clean up in the kitchen.
I’ve read that eating together is a key component to healthy family bonding but I have to admit that we often struggle for conversation.
“How was school?”
“Did anything interesting happen at work?”
We have resorted to reading the labels of condiments on the table for entertainment.
“Guess what the first ingredient is in mustard.”
In comparison, vinegar is third on the list of ingredients in ketchup. Fascinating.
The other night we had nachos. Craig had done the shopping and so instead of the often-on-sale Tostitos brand of salsa, the (I’m sure) premium priced Newman’s Own Original Salsa sat on our table. The label proclaimed that the product was All Natural, So Good It Oughta Be Outlawed! and featured an illustration of a grey-haired, handlebar moustachioed Paul Newman wearing a sombrerro. But on the back of the label, in tiny type, I found this:
“Paul Newman and the Newman’s Own Foundation donate all profits and royalties after taxes to educational and charitable purposes.”
Well I’ll be darned! Just two weeks ago I published a momversusmarketer post about mixing business and charity, and here is a company for which charity kind of is their business. I’d heard of Newman’s Own years ago in the context of a salad dressing my Mother bought. She was of the generation that thought Paul Newman was dreamy, but the dressing was actually really good and sombrarro-Paul’s salsa was too. Unlike those crappy chocolate covered almonds I bought at the gas station, I’m thinking that the main reason people buy Newman’s Own is because they actually like the products.
Today I did a little research on Paul Newman and learned that he and a friend started the company in 1982 with the mission to ‘shamelessly exploit his celebrity for the common good’, and that as of July 2011 the company had donated over $300 million to thousands of charities. Every year, they literally give away all of the company’s profit and then start over again.
But that’s not all Paul Newman did. In his spare time, sometime between playing Dodge Blake in Message in a Bottle and John Rooney in Road to Perdition, he started
the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP). Founded in 1999, CECP is a membership organization of corporate CEO’s committed to raise the level and quality of global corporate philanthropy.
Just for fun, I downloaded the 2011/2012 Membership Roster and I think I managed to count 153 companies in total. I wasn’t surprised to see excellent representation from insurance companies, major food companies, retail chains and big pharma. However, I was surprised to also see the National Basketball Association, advertising company Ogilvy & Mather, and a bunch of toy companies (Mattel, Hasbro and Toys R Us) included on the list.
My most cynical imagination pictures these CEO’s getting together to brag about how much money they’re giving away; maybe a number of them even get into a bit of a charitable donation pissing match in an effort to win the annual CECP Excellence Award in Corporate Philanthropy! But it would be the most productive of pissing matches wouldn’t it?
Conspicuous by their absence were P&G, Unilever and Apple Inc. Oh dear! The Williams family loves their iMac and our iPods. In a desperate attempt to gather evidence that Apple, a company with such great products and super-hip marketing, does good in the realm of social responsibility, I searched the web but unfortunately came up pretty empty. I stumbled upon a blogger like myself ( www.charlestlee.com/humanitarian/how-philanthropic-and-generous-is-apple/) who asked people to write in with examples of Apple’s philanthropy and he hasn’t had much luck either.
Paul Newman died in 2008 at the age of 83 but both Newman’s Own and CECP live on. It seems that some idols are worthy of our praise, while others … not so much.
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Check out the Newman’s Own website. Full of personality that makes you love the products even more! www.newmansown.com