Historically, Cult Flav has held brands at arms length in order to preserve neutrality. This was in keeping with the example of brands that have gone before us such as ATK, The Wirecutter, etc., but in retrospect, we think:
That approach is naive. Not only does it not prevent inherent bias, but refusing to engage with brands whatsoever also prevents access to information we could otherwise share with our audience.
It reduces the number of products we’re able to review by requiring every unit be individually purchased — limiting our ability to provide a complete overview of a given market due to budget constraints.
Reviewers in other verticals (e.g. tech, cars, etc.) have been engaging with brands for decades while still maintaining integrity showing that it’s fully possible to engage with brands without becoming beholden to them.
Our overarching goal of Cult Flav is to build a company where our responsibility is exclusively to our audience of home cooks, not to companies or their shareholders.
With those ideas in mind, we think it’s in our audience’s best interest that Cult Flav begins to engage with brands more directly.
In order to minimize bias, we want to engage with brands on an even playing field with equal expectations that are publicly available. As part of that, we’re going to be more specific in how we accept review units going forward.
We won’t share an editorial timeline if we choose to review a given product and we don’t choose what to review based on what is sent to us.
Most products only get reviewed as part of a larger category and some only get ratings on our website rather than being mentioned in our video content.
We research the materials, production methods, brand, market positioning, and pricing strategy and may fold those into the review as well.
All review units contributed by brands will be donated to a charity of our choosing post-review.
In cases where we initiate a commercial relationship with a brand (e.g. co-developing products, selling products through cultflav.com), it’s because we believe we can provide a better experience for our audience by doing so, and we will note that relationship in future reviews.