Whole Foods hates on trade magazines

In an attempt to get some info about Whole Foods' public campaign against the FTC, which is trying to block its merger with Wild Oats...

In an attempt to get some info about Whole Foods' public campaign against the FTC, which is trying to block its merger with Wild Oats on antitrust grounds, I called the company. But when I got a spokesperson on the phone (I'll be nice and keep her anonymous because she said she would "be fired" if she was quoted -- but a little elementary investigation could probably out her), she informed me that the company has a policy of not talking to trade magazines. No trade magazines, no time, period.

She said that this was an executive decision of the company's, because its industry is so competitive that they don't want to reveal their closely-held secrets to the trades. And while that mostly applies to retail trades, she explained apologetically, PRWeek also falls into the category, so she can't tell us anything except to look at their Web site.

That is, to use a technical journalism term, re-donkulous.

At PRWeek, we encounter companies that refuse to talk to the media about certain sensitive matters, and others that give time to bigger media outlets at the expense of smaller ones. But I've never run across a large corporation that has a formalized "no trade magazine" policy-- or one that would fire a spokesperson for being quoted telling a reporter about it.

Heaven forbid the secret Whole Foods cheese display strategy leaks out!

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