Thursday, 17 November 2011

Secrets and Lies in the Dragons Den

There is a lot of coverage of Levi Roots this week.  The ‘creator’ of Reggae Reggae sauce is in court defending his ownership of the Reggae Reggae recipe.  Mr Roots, real name Keith Valentine Graham, has admitted, during the trial, that he lied on Dragons' Den about the origins of the recipe, but he has denied stealing it from his former business partner.

Levi Roots told the Dragon’s that the recipe had been handed down by his grandmother, a story that he now admits he made up.  "When I was trying to market the sauce, I thought of every conceivable way that I was connected with music and the Notting Hill Carnival," he said.

"I cooked all that in a bag together and tried my best to make a story about it."

Roots, is being sued for more than £600,000 by Tony Bailey, his former business partner and best friend. Bailey claims Roots stole his recipe for the sauce. A charge Roots denies.

Now I am no puritan, I buy Reggae Reggae sauce, infact we had it on Tuesday, I also have two of Levi Roots cookery books.  My Granny has even borrowed the books to compare the recipes with her own.  My Granny is a wise woman from Jamaica and I have always listened to everything she has told me including “buy cheap, by twice” (really handy that one in justifying expensive shoes).  And not to “wear white if I couldn’t keep it clean” she did not need to tell me that a lie will always come back and bite you in the butt! 

This case has thrown some serious business questions out there.  My questions are many…..

Is it ever right to build a brand or sell your product or service based on a lie? 
Surely if you have a strong enough product you don’t need to lie about it? 
If you lie in a business pitch what does this say about the kind of person you are? 

Now that Levi Roots has been exposed as a liar will this change his relationship with Peter Jones?  And no one wants to be associated with someone un-trustable right? 

Regardless of the outcome of the trial will this revealed dishonestly cost Levi (The Liar) Roots much more than the cash he is being sued for and in fact cost him his reputation as his word, is not, it appears his bond.

As a media and marketing professional and as a buyer of his product I am sorely disappointed with Mr Levi Roots - I don't think that marketing should ever be about lying - but what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. He has let himself down but made £30m in the process. I doubt he cares but his brand should deservedly suffer.