Magazine article Marketing

Regulator's Churn Is Emptying

Magazine article Marketing

Regulator's Churn Is Emptying

Article excerpt

The mighty Unilever is having fine sport with the UK's advertising watchdogs this week. It's making complete jackasses of them. But they were asking for it. They have gone too far, too fast.

The ITC banned Unilever subsidiary Van den Bergh's "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" campaign because it believes it will get a Monty Python foot from Brussels. EC rules about dairy designation could mean the brand is pretending it is butter when in fact it isn't. There is a "significant question-mark" over the brand - despite the brand name, it says.

Unilever, on the other hand, knows it will take a particularly suspicious bureaucrat to decide Unilever's ludicrous monicker involves diary designation. Besides, Brussels hasn't even raised its eyebrows yet.

The stakes are high for Unileve and for advertising regulation. Unilever clearly believes it has a global brand in the making. And it has obviously anticipated this ruck with the UK authorities. In fact, it has been preparing to fight this one for a long time.

It has already seen off a similar challenge across the Atlantic. And months ago it called on the advice of Bar chairman Anthony Scrivener to rule on the legality of the brand. He, apparently, thinks it's legal -- possibly opening the way for an unprecedented set to. …

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