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Nutella’s Incredible, Unbelievable, Completely Inexplicable—but Totally Legal—PR Blunder

We’re sorry, but let’s be candid about what is going on here: this blog post is a formality.

By now most PR industry professionals and fans of Nutella know that Ferrero, the corporate overlord of the coveted Italian chocolate-hazelnut spread, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Sara Rosso, the blogger, brand advocate and source of energy behind World Nutella Day and its respective social media presences—which includes almost 40,000 likes on its Facebook page.

Ferrero claimed Ms. Russo violated the brand’s intellectual property rights and trademarks, which, from a legal perspective, we’re guessing is true. So kudos to Ferrero’s lawyers for their diligence and professionalism; only legal minds that see the world as a contentious, litigious and unlovable place could pursue such an agenda against a woman who only wants to celebrate the same product they’re hired to protect.

So this blog post can’t offer any unique insights, penetrating advice or general truisms other than what everyone else already understands: this was a colossal and unbelievable PR screw-up. It exposes a level of tone deafness and corporate barbarism that one would find in a dystopian novel about zombie-machines chasing the last handful of human beings across a torched Cinque Terre for one last taste of flesh. Yes, from a PR standpoint, it’s that crazy.

So where do Ferrero and Nutella go from here? Supplication. Ferrero must make things right with Ms. Rosso and the terrible ramifications of this inexplicable decision. And apparently the brand is doing just that. Ferrero recently reversed its decision and dropped all legal proceedings against Ms. Rosso. That’s right: World Nutella Day is back on.

But Nutella is living in a different world than it did just a few short days ago. We’ll just have to wait and see how forgiving, if at all, the public will be.

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