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Jason Pitsch

FTC finally tells Shinola to stop deceiving consumers

Jason Pitsch

June 23, 2016

Better late than never.

As you may recall, we ran an editorial calling out Shinola’s deceptive marketing practices in August of 2013, titled “Will The Real ‘Shinola’ Please Stand Up.”

In the editorial, we precisely detailed how virtually all of the components of the watches are produced in Switzerland or China.

However, what Shinola has lead everyone to believe is that the watches are built from scratch in the US, despite the fact that everything except the straps are imported.

Assembly of the watch movements, casing up, assembly of the watches, and quality control is all done in Detroit. And that is a good thing as it has created US jobs in a city that desperately needs new jobs.

The problem is if Shinola markets the watches as “American Made” – it is an outright lie. And they know what they are doing here. This is no mistake. This is deliberate.

In response to the FTC letter, Tom Kartsotis, founder of Bedrock Manufacturing and Shinola, said they have always tried to be transparent about the origins of products, but conceded “some flaws in our communication.”

Considering that in August 2013 – Shinola did send PROFESSIONAL WATCHES an itemized list of which countries individual parts were sourced from – they were transparent in that regard. But to put this in proper context, what Kartsotis’s statement fails to address is that in being transparent after the fact, and only to media who specifically ask investigative questions, Shinola is essentially deceiving every consumer and publication that does not ask.

Afterall, the dial still says “Detroit,” and the marketing slogan still says “Where American is Made,” and so on.

The FTC has finally stepped in with corrective actions (as they should have done three years ago) that require Shinola to change the wording of their marketing statements and wording on the actual watches, as detailed in-depth by the Detroit Free Press.

Even with the corrective actions, we tend to agree with the FTC, that there are concerns that Bedrock will use deceptive marketing statements again in the future. And because of this concern, the FTC has explicitly stated “we will continue to monitor the company’s advertising closely.”


Image: Digobrands

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