Vermont is no slacker. Although it is a small state, with an entire state population that is less than the county where I grew up in New Jersey, it basically takes no crap from anyone. Vermont protects its “brand” with a tenacity and protectiveness that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Let’s face it, when one thinks of Vermont one’s thoughts generally go to the “concept” of Vermont — the great outdoors, the snow, the leaves, au natural. There is no great industry in Vermont, our industry is in fact our people, our surroundings, our welcoming arms that take in the skiers, snowboards, naturalists, hippie wannabes and those looking for some oneness with nature. So, you see, Vermont is its own brand. One that needs protection. Skiing, snowboarding, leaf peeping and maple syrup are all synonymous with Vermont.

Photo credit: Burlington Free Press

Photo credit: Burlington Free Press

From a 2003 report by the O’Neal Strategy Group on the Vermont brand, which can be found here are the following excerpts:

Vermont’s image for visitors remains unchanged from the 1998 study. “Beautiful” and “peaceful” remain the 
dominant attributes, while “respectful of the environment,” “authentic” and “friendly” are seen as the dominant 
personality traits. “Surprisingly sophisticated” is barely on visitors’ radar screens, and “skilled professionals” and 
“high tech” are off the screen altogether.

This brand image is similar to the one held by visitors. “Beautiful” and “peaceful” are the strongest attributes, but 
in this case, product-type associations such as ”authentic/genuine” and “natural/pure” are a stronger part of the 
image (not surprising since these are people whose primary connection to Vermont is the purchase of products).

If you may remember, a while ago, Vermont took on McDonalds. Turns out that McDonalds was not providing Vermont maple syrup with its breakfast selection of oatmeal. No way, not in Vermont. Not too long after the media hoopla, there was word of a settlement. Turns out that in Vermont, you have the right to request McDonalds to provide you with real Vermont maple syrup when you order your oatmeal. It’s a fact.

So, the latest action by the Vermont Attorney General’s office comes as no surprise. There is a product called  “VerMints” which are tins of mints that make one think of…..Vermont? According to the advertising from 2006 through 2011 they were advertised on the tin as “Vermont’s all natural mints” which claims  have gradually been replaced over the years by the word “Vermint’s all natural mints”.  You would be led to believe, or at least the Attorney General’s office states that you would be led to believe that this is a Vermont product. In fact, VerMints are manufactured in Canada by a Massachusetts-based company and contain no substantial Vermont ingredients. The only thing Vermont about VerMints is evidently that you can buy them in the state.

Today, a settlement was reached whereby VerMints will pay $35,000 to the Vermont Foodbank and $30,000 to the State of Vermont for violations of state consumer protection laws. It will also see that its packages contain corrected and accurate labeling which is not misguided.

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