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Posts Tagged ‘Unilever’

Ben & Jerry’s Goes Rogue on GMOs

ben-and-jerrys

Here’s a very interesting report on some internal conflict within the massive conglomerate we call Unilever: seems that the company and one of its most valued properties disagree on the issue of genetically modified organisms in food.

Matthew Boyle of Bloomberg reports that, while Ben & Jerry’s strongly supports its home state’s new law requiring GMO foods to be labeled as such, Unilever does not. Shocking, we know.

Yet Unilever allows the ice cream kings to be outspoken in their advocacy because, as an analyst tells Bloomberg:

“I don’t think they will ever want the potentially massive negative PR of trying to silence B&J.”

Well, yeah.

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Unilever Is Cool with People Mocking Latest Dove ‘Real Beauty’ Campaign

Every brand wants to start a conversation, right? Unilever’s Dove has unquestionably scored one of the biggest media wins in recent years with its extended “Real Beauty” campaign by Ogilvy.

The latest spot, titled “Patches”, went viral faster than any of its predecessors. In an interview earlier this month, a branding expert told us it was an example for other brands to mimic.

And yet, with success comes criticism. As the ad got bigger, nearly every blog weighed in to knock it. EDGE Collective founder Ryan Aynes told us that the amplification of negative sentiments on social media made the backlash look larger than it actually was, but plenty of people still disapprove.

This parody of the spot isn’t the funniest thing you’ll see this week, but it does summarize the complaints made against Dove:

As our headline reads, however, Unilever is totally cool with it.

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New Jersey Unamused by Dove’s ‘Armpit of America’ Billboards

nj-armit-of-america-hed-2014

A few days ago, Dove unveiled plans to post billboards in The Garden State that would declare, “Dear New Jersey, when people call you ‘The Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.”

The company was hoping to send the message that an armpit is actually quite a lovely thing, and assumed the majority of its audience would understand and appreciate the joke. Matthew McCarthy, the senior marketing director of deodorants at Unilever, told The New York Times last week, “I don’t expect that there will be a lot of people who misunderstand, but to the degree that they do, we’ll be open about what we’re really trying to say…The message that we want to get out there is that the armpit is not a bad thing, and that we stand for caring for the armpit.”

Talk about misreading your audience — Unilever may want to invest in a new crystal ball.

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Top 10 Social Media Wins of 2013

Next round of likes is on us

The next round of “likes” is on us…

We already shared the worst of social media in 2013, so here’s to the best…or at least our own approximation of it.

OBVIOUS DISCLAIMER IS OBVIOUS: Yes, this list is highly subjective and you’re going to see some repetition/glaring omissions. But such is the nature of year-end clickbait, no?

Here, then, are the stories that demonstrated what social media meant to us and our industry in 2013.

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Not So Suave: Unilever Sued for a Product That Allegedly Caused Hair Damage

via Facebook

via Facebook

Unilever is on the wrong end of a class action lawsuit over a now-discontinued Suave Keratin product that the plaintiffs allege caused hair breakage, hair loss and other kinds of hair damage.

The big problem, according to the plaintiffs lawyer, is that the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit marketed itself as “formaldehyde free” when it actually contained another chemical that they say “is mainly synthesized from formaldehyde.” Unilever tried to have the lawsuit tossed, but a judge rejected that motion and now they’re going to trial. Eeek.

But as I said, the chemical contents are just one of the problems Unilever and Suave face in this case. The others are a weak recall and a social media program that continued long after the product did. Double eeek.

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Unilever Restrings Musical Instruments with Human Hair to Prove its Strength

Agency JWT Singapore/Manila recently teamed up with Unilever shampoo brand Cream Silk Hair for an undeniably creative (and undeniably creepy) promotion.

In order to prove how well Cream Silk products strengthen hair, the pair organized a string quartet concert in a Manila mall. All of the bows used in the concert — usually made with horse hair because of its durability — were instead strung with human hair that had been washed and conditioned with Cream Silk products.

The ad below shows South East Asian bow-maker Paul Goh crafting the bows out of human hair as an instrumental version of Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” plays in the background. The spot culminates with a clip of the 40-song, 240-minute concert, all of which took place with zero hair breakage (pretty impressive). The video closes with the compelling line, “Not only can strong hair be seen, it can be heard.” Read more

Edelman’s New ‘Creative’ Position Marks Shift Toward a More Assertive PR

Edelman PR Today Edelman PR announced the appointment of Jackie Cooper to the newly created role of global chair, creative strategy. Cooper previously served as global chair of brand strategy; she is now also a member of the firm’s executive committee.

What does this new title mean? It’s part of a larger strategic shift for the Edelman organization, which aims to “be the lead creative resource” for clients by expanding upon the role PR teams play within the creative process while simultaneously differentiating PR from other marketing disciplines. By leveraging the power of its internal Strategic and Creative Guild and its newly assertive creative strategy team, Edelman will “further empower” its more than 4,500 employees to address the challenges clients face in earning the loyalty of their customers.

The heart of this shift stems from the fact that, in the words of president and CEO Richard Edelman, “PR needs to have a better self-image” and avoid “[assuming] that the job is to advance advertising’s creative work”. In order to facilitate that change, the firm plans to begin “[hiring] more people out of advertising” and cooperating more closely with creative departments on new digital/multimedia content campaigns.

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Axe Will Send 22 Teenage Boys Into Space

Ballsy promotions are nothing new for Axe Body Wash/Spray/Incense/Baby Powder, also known as the secret weapon of hormonal teenage boys everywhere.

The company’s latest stunt is certainly its most brazen. In order to promote a new line of products that will blasphemously be known as Axe Apollo, parent company Unilever enlisted former astronaut Buzz Aldrin (who is only the second person to walk on the moon, BTW) and the Space Expedition Corporation to create its new promo project: sending 22 customers into space.

We’re not exactly sure what intergalactic travel has to do with cologne, and we have a feeling that most members of the target demographic would go “into orbit” if a female so much as looked at them, nyuk nyuk. But Axe is never one to veer off-brand: This commercial, for example, reminds boys that astronauts always get chicks–even when there are heroic firefighters around.

Well, that was dumb.

The most interesting thing about this campaign: the promo concept came before the product.

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Axe ‘Showerpooling’ Ads: Shameless and Sexist or Provocative with a Purpose?

Every member of the ad team responsible for promoting Axe grooming products clearly attended class on the day their marketing professors told them that “sex sells.”

Take, for instance, their ad featuring a stampede of half-naked women converging on one lone man (who apparently smells awesome) as the words “spray more, get more” appear on the screen. Not blunt enough for you? How about the shampoo bottle tagline that promises, “the cleaner to you are, the dirtier you get”? All this professional copywriting work sends one very clear message — use Axe, get laid.

Axe’s latest ad campaign, however, ventures into uncharted territory. In this case, the product’s ultimate benefit (sex) lies hidden beneath a very thinly veiled pseudo-PSA about water conservation. “Showerpooling”, as the company calls it, encourages young men to save water by showering with “a like-minded acquaintance or an attractive stranger”. While it’s pretty clear what might appeal to guys about this idea (and we don’t mean the eco-friendly part), Rob Candelino, vice president of marketing for U.S. skin care at Unilever (Axe’s parent company), swears the campaign really is about water conservation. Sort of.

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Ben & Jerry’s Sues Porn Company

America’s favorite Northeastern ice cream fanatics found themselves in a bit of a sticky situation when they discovered that a porn production company had been selling X-rated DVDs with titles and graphics imitating those that grace Ben & Jerry’s famous pints.

Now the creamery (or their parent company, Unilever) has decided to sue—and bring a whole lot of attention to the smut merchants behind such classics as “Boston Cream Thigh” and “Peanut Butter D-Cup.”

We have to ask: Is it really in the company’s best interests to draw this incident out? And is “Hairy Garcia” really any more offensive than “Karamel Sutra” or the infamous Baldwin-inspired “Schweddy Balls?” We do acknowledge that the graphic rip-off is a blatant case of copyright infringement, but we wonder whether the incident will actually “cause confusion in the minds of consumers”–we can’t remember the last time we went looking for “adult entertainment” in the dairy section.

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