Popular FMCG brand Amul was restrained from telecasting advertisements found to be disparaging a product by the Bombay High Court. As per a report by The Indian Express, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), in March 2017, had filed a suit before the Bombay High Court stating that its ice-cream brand Kwality Walls was one of the market leaders in frozen desserts category and the company has also filed a suit claiming that the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, which takes care of Amul’s marketing was spreading false and malicious information about its products. HUL said that though its ads campaign and commercials, the GCMMF was disparaging the brand.
As per a report by Indian Express, reasoning its decision to restrain Amul’s ads, the court examined several previous judgments that involved various other brand cases including Dabur India vs Colgate, Godrej vs Initiative Media, Eureka Forbes vs Pentair, to examine the laws that amount to disparagement, and restrained Amul from telecasting the advertisements.
Virag Tulzapurkar, who is HUL’s counsel had also submitted the television commercial along with the transcription of the same. The ad shows a child being asked not to have frozen dessert as it contains vanaspati oil, which is said to be bad for health.
The suit further states that the defendant (Amul) has mislead the consumers by claiming that Amul ice cream contains pure milk whereas frozen desserts contain the harmful vanaspati, report added further.
Justice S J Kathawalla, who was hearing the case, had in the past, given a few suggestions to make changes to the advertisement. However, Kathawalla concluded that the advertisements indicated they had been prepared to disparage frozen desserts by putting a threat in the mind of the consumers.
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“From the content, intent, manner and storyline of both the TVCs it is clear that Defendant No. 1 seeks to take undue advantage of the perception of the public that Vanaspati is bad for health and creates a false impression that all Frozen Desserts are made using Vanaspati and are consequently not pure, inferior, bad for health and not the correct choice, i.e. should not be consumed by the public who should instead have the product of the Defendant No.1, i.e. ice cream,” read an excerpt from the 87-page judgment of Justice Kathawalla.