Hindustan Unilever Limited:
India’s advertising regulator has told consumer goods major Hindustan Unilever to stop mentioning its Kwality Walls brand as ‘ice cream’ in certain advertisements following a complaint by top ice-cream brand Amul.
Kwality Walls is frozen dessert, which looks and tastes like ice cream but is made with vegetable fat and not milk fat. Hence, under Indian laws, it does not qualify as ice cream.
“The consumer complaints council has concluded that the mention of Kwality Walls as an ice cream is misleading,” said Alan Collaco, secretary general of Advertising Standards Council of India, the self-regulatory body of advertising industry.
The advertisements in question are in the form of advertorials, or advertisements designed in the style of editorial matter. HUL published three print advertorials, each featuring a celebrity talking about Kwality Walls brand, complete with heading, extensive text and photograph. They feature singer Shaan, chef Sanjeev Kapoor and TV actress Smita Bansal along with their families.
An HUL spokesman said the company will replace the word ‘ice cream’ with ‘frozen dessert’ in the ads. “We have agreed with ASCI that wherever the word ice-cream appears in the said advertorial, it should be considered as an expression of opinion of the celebrity featured in the advertisement. However, with a view to close the issue amicably, we agreed with ASCI to include the words ‘Kwality Walls frozen dessert,'” he said in an email response to ET’s query.
Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, which markets Amul, had complained toASCI that the mention of Kwality Walls as ice cream was a deliberate attempt to mislead people.
“The advertorial makes a clear mention to Kwality Walls Strawberry Cheesecake being an ice cream when in reality it is a frozen dessert,” Nitin Karkare, COO of ad agency DraftFCB Ulka that represents Amul, wrote in a letter to the regulator soon after HUL released the first ad featuring Shaan.
“This is a case of a deliberate attempt at misleading the consumer, considering that the term has been strategically highlighted and hence cannot be a case of oversight,” Karkare said.
The ice cream-plus-frozen desserts market in India is estimated at about 1,700 crore, with market leader Amul holding about 40% share. Other big players include Kwality Walls, Ahmedabad-based Vadilal, NDDB’s Mother Dairy and Ravi Jaipuria group’s Cream Bell.