Amul says that they have nowhere in the commercial said or shown anything that harms HUL. They have just made consumers aware that Amul ice-cream is a pure dairy product and the ones that use vegetable oil are ‘frozen dessert’. Consumers need to check package details before buying ice-creams
Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | March 28, 2017
As the summers have approached, the mercury level has risen amongst dessert brands in India. Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF), which sells its products under the Amul brand, defended its TV commercial for ice-cream and said that Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) has resorted to taking legal actions because “they have now on their own been exposed” after this commercial.
Recently, HUL and Vadilal took Amul to court for the latter’s latest ad which suggested consumers buy Amul ice-cream as its rivals are actually selling 'frozen dessert' in the name of ice-cream. HUL and Vadilal together filed a case on March 21, 2017, in Bombay High Court seeking immediate removal of the advertisement.
An HUL spokesperson said, “Amul has been airing a misleading television commercial since March 2017. This advertisement makes factually incorrect statements creating apprehensions among consumers of frozen desserts.”
The Bombay High Court will hear the case on March 29, 2017.
Defending Amul’s stand, RS Sodhi, GCMMF Managing Director, said, “We haven’t taken their name or even shown any packet in the commercial. We did not even say that frozen desserts are bad or not good for health. We have only said that ice-cream is made of dairy products and frozen desserts are made of vegetable oil.”
According to FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), if a frozen dessert is made of vegetable oil, then it cannot be called ice-cream, it is frozen dessert, Sodhi told BestMediaInfo.com.
So, has the Amul ad made HUL insecure?
Sodhi replied, “Yes. Now people will start questioning as to why are these brands using cheap oil and selling at a premium cost. They have portrayed the products as premium by doing celebrity endorsements, but their products are inferior.”
The HUL spokesperson argued, “The advertisement makes incorrect claims about the usage of ‘Vanaspati/Vanaspati-tel’ in frozen dessert products. We wish to clarify that Kwality Wall’s range of ‘frozen desserts’ do not contain Vanaspati. In fact, Kwality Wall’s range of frozen desserts contains milk/milk solids like ice-creams. The only difference is that frozen desserts use vegetable fat instead of dairy fat, which actually makes them healthier as they have lower saturated fat and do not have cholesterol.”
People have taken to Twitter and digital platforms to show their surprise that Kwality Walls is not ice-cream but frozen dessert.
Sodhi added, “That was the purpose of the ad. We wanted people to know the difference between frozen dessert and ice-cream. In fact, on their ice-cream packs it is written ‘frozen dessert. Other than Magnum ice-cream, all HUL products in this category are frozen dessert.”
“We have in past done a similar thing for butter and margarine and will do a similar thing for cheese going forward. If you keep on eating Dalda and think that you are eating desi ghee, then how will you feel?” said Sodhi.
Would this fiasco have an impact on the Amul ice-cream brand? Sodhi replied, “This would have a positive impact on the ice-cream category, be it any ice-cream.”
Earlier in 2016, HUL complained against Amul to ASCI on the same grounds. Amul used to put posters at shops stating that Amul is pure ice-cream made of dairy products and the rest are mostly frozen dessert. HUL filed a complaint with ASCI and the advertising watchdog ruled the case in Amul’s favour saying that the brand has a right to inform consumers about products that they are eating.
Sodhi also told BestMediaInfo, “On the first hand in 2012, Amul complained against Kwality Walls ice-cream using celebrities in their ads. Kwality has used one of the celebrities to endorse the product as ice-cream. Therefore, Amul said that Kwality cannot use a celebrity to make a false claim that they are ‘ice-cream’ instead of ‘frozen dessert’. At that time, ASCI ruled the case in Amul’s favour and HUL had to revoke the ad.”
One needs to wait and watch until March 29, 2017, to know what the court has to say. Would the war continue? Would HUL win the case against Amul? Would Amul lose the legal battle against HUL this time?