That my shampoo, lunch, toilet paper and vitamins may have been discussed in a single company's annual meeting is something I both take for granted and otherwise bury as deeply as possible. It's bizarre and uncomfortable: Conglomerate brand ownership makes for good trivia and bad thoughts.
The consumer conglomerates themselves don't usually hide, exactly. General Mills isn't worried that people will be shocked to discover that Hamburger Helper and Lucky Charms share a parent company. But Clorox doesn't go out of its way to remind shoppers that Liquid-Plumr, Burt's Bees and KC Masterpiece trade under the same ticker symbol. And you don't see AB InBev posters in your [...]