Sweetening Their Image: Splenda Hires Monsanto’s Shady PR Firm To Clean Up Its Image

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A Splendid Spin On Splenda: Company Hires Monsanto’s Weaselly PR Firm To Shore Up Its Image

Many television viewers mourned the end of the much-beloved show Mad Men, one of a cluster of “anti-hero” series that came out at roughly the same time, along with The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. We love watching bad men do bad things that we are all tempted with from time to time.

And oh how we cherished our time watching bad boy Don Draper, the ad-man’s ad-man, as he broke hearts, told lies, smiled and sold charm and image, deftly weaving psychology and consumerism into tangled web of genius bravado and cold hard cash.

Well don’t pine for Draper’s ilk too much, because they’re all around us–in spades. The spawn of that era continues to shamelessly spin lies and false promises in exchange for a buck; if anything today they are even worse than their 1960s counterparts.

To wit, the Splenda company is now represented by Ketchum, the notorious PR firm that has done tons of work for Monsanto obfuscating the truth about genetically modified organisms and the chemicals needed to grow them.

Public records show that Ketchum is now the PR “Agency of Record” for Heartland Food Products Group for its artificial sweetener Splenda. Heartland has owned the Splenda brand since 2015, when it acquired the company from McNeil Nutritionals, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

And Splenda needs all the help it can get. A recent bombshell report from the Ramazzini Institute showed a connection between the popular sugar alternative and cancer, specifically leukemia, driving the Center for Science in the Public Interest to downgrade Splenda from its “safe” category to “caution.” A subsequent 2016 peer-reviewed study prompted CSPI to downgrade the sugar substitutes from a label of “caution” to one of “avoid.”

So Ketchum has their work cut out for them. But don’t feel bad for them; the agency knows just what to do with bad news: spin the ever-loving hell out of it.

Ketchum is known for creating “GMO Answers,” a subsidiary of the Council for Biotechnology, an industry trade group.

They also have become adept at promoting positive coverage of GMOs and Monsanto in social media networks, notably by innovating the use of “sock puppet” accounts: false users created by the dozen to parrot the pro-GMO line on Facebook and opinion leader websites like Reddit.

Their low point–or to them, probably their crowning achievement–was when they targeted children for indoctrination into the pro-GMO fold by producing a pro-Monsanto school curriculum that promised that “…incorporating ag into your classroom” would be ever so much fun and “educational.”

But even these rats are going to have a hard time salvaging Splenda, as more and more people come it find out the ugly truth.

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