Annnnnd the NWF said “Um. Right. Toxic birdseed, you say? Well, never mind then.”
Now, realistically, I’ll bet you dollars to daffodil bulbs that what REALLY happened is that the internet got really mad at the NWF and the NWF said “Oh dear, didn’t think you’d notice…” did the math of PR outrage, and took this as an excuse to bow out before the hate mail reached epic proportions. There’s no way they didn’t know this was coming, particularly since a major focus of the NWF’s efforts with Scotts was the birdseed thing, and I’m very sure that Scotts got them on board specifically as damage control, because “Scotts Sells Toxic Birdseed” as a headline is only slightly better than “Scotts Products Made Of Puppies” or “Scotts CEO Says (Your Beloved Regional Cuisine Here) Tastes Like Sheep-turds.”
However, any excuse is a good excuse in cases like this, and however annoyed we may be that the NWF got to that stage, it behooves us to praise them for having pulled back. (You have to praise people for doing the right thing just as much as you yell at them for the wrong thing—otherwise you’re just yelling and people eventually buy earplugs.)
Am I happy they were willing to partner in the first place? No. Have I lost a lot of faith in the NWF? You betcha. Would I love the NWF to come out and start cataloging all the bad thing Scotts has done and vow to stop them? I would love that more than pie.
But that’s clearly not gonna happen, and at the end of the day, a bunch of people yelling on the internet made the NWF pull out of the partnership. And in my book that’s a win.