Hindustan Unilever has filed a caveat petition in the Mumbai High Court against Emami, anticipating the rival to approach the court against an HUL ad that takes a pot-shot at Emami’s Fair and Handsome fairness cream for men.
HUL recently launched the new campaign, which names the rival’s brand, after re-launching the product.
It is not at all surprising to note that HUL has once again resorted to its practice of directly disparaging competitions’ products in their ads, whether in personal care or household segment, whenever the market shares of the concerned products are low.
In 2010, HUL’s commercial for Rin detergent directly attacked Procter & Gamble’s Tide Naturals. It was banned later but such ads do affect the company’s reputation.
However, HUL states that the company is a responsible advertiser and adheres to all applicable laws, rules and guidelines while advertising.
HUL’s move to file caveat would mean the country’s largest FMCG firm will be granted time to file its reply if Emami takes legal action. This, in turn, will allow HUL to run the campaign at least until the court passes an order.
Amul came out with an ad last year emphasising that it sells ‘real milk, real ice cream’ in contrast to other companies that use cheaper and unhealthy vanaspati oil in their products.
This sparked a row, prompting HUL, Vadilal, and other ice cream makers to take Amul’s parent company to court, accusing it of tarnishing the image of their frozen desserts.
Another war was when Reckitt Benckiser launched Dettol Kitchen followed with a TV ad comparing the cleaning product with HUL’s Vim. HUL appealed to court saying the ads were untrue, but it was denied.
A creative advertisement might be entertaining but comparative advertisement has become one of the aggressive forms of marketing. Big brands are all game and don’t shy away from getting dirty in this mud-slinging world of ads.