From the Investment Services Department:
Many years ago, my girlfriend’s best friend and her husband declared loudly and definitively that they were boycotting Disney. Now, this couple was somewhat oblivious, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. I had just started my career as a financial advisor and was spending a lot of time researching companies and investments. I found it very interesting how several brand names were often owned by one company. And, I remember thinking, “Do these people know that the ABC Network and ESPN are owned by Disney?”
Boycotts aside, I believe knowing this brand/company relationship is important when choosing investments. In a play on Warren Buffett’s “invest in what you know,” I’d also say, “know what you invest in.” Some are easy. For instance, iPods and iPads are owned and sold by Apple. Microsoft Office? Microsoft Corporation.
But some are a little fuzzier. Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Pantene, and Vidal Sassoon are all hair care brands made and marketed by Procter and Gamble, one of the largest U.S. companies. Mondelez is the foreign sounding name of the spinoff from Kraft Foods. This company is based in Deerfield, IL and produces brands such as Nabisco (Ritz, Chips Ahoy!, Oreos, etc), Gevalia, Tang, Toblerone and Cadbury. They also sell Dentyne, Stride and Trident gums. Speaking of food brands, the largest food maker in the world, Nestle, is a company based in Switzerland. We all know their famous lines of chocolate: Crunch Bars, Kit Kat and Toll House Morsels, but they also sell Gerber baby food, Lean Cuisine, Stouffer’s, Dreyer’s ice cream and Purina pet food.
Then there are the fun ones. As Netflix becomes more of a household utility, content providers are becoming increasingly important. MTV, BET, VH-1, and Nickelodeon are all owned by a company called Viacom. They also own Paramount Pictures. And, you know that tiny ice cream company that brings you Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey? Ben and Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, a huge European consumer products company (also the maker of Dove soap, Pond’s, and Lipton teas). Finally, one that is near and dear to us in the Pacific Northwest. Washington wine maker, Chateau Ste. Michelle is owned by Altria, the same company that owns cigarette maker Phillip Morris USA.
Now, all of this may be little more than fun pieces of trivia. But, I would argue that knowing what you put your money into (both investment-wise and purchasing-wise) is important. And these are just a few examples. I’ll leave it to you to find some more. Such as what does Honest Tea (“great-tasting, truly healthy, organic beverages”) have to do with Coca-Cola?
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Coming together to eat really does create strong bonds.
After a summer of "almost training" for this big hike - I was on my way up Mount Rainier.
I didn’t have normal butterflies fluttering around my stomach. I had butterflies on triple mochas bouncing around in complete disorder, trying to work their way up my esophagus.