India

Ice cream war rages in court as Amul appeals against HUL ruling

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Part of the advert which compares Amul ice cream with a frozen dessert
Part of the advert which compares Amul ice cream with a frozen dessert

Related tags: Milk

A bitter row between two of India’s biggest dairy manufacturers has returned to the Bombay High Court with Gujurat co-operative Amul arguing for the reinstatement of an ice cream advert that had been blocked following a complaint by Hindustan Unilever in June.

Suing Amul for INR100m in compensation, HUL had claimed that the commercial disparaged its frozen desserts, claiming "real​" ice-creams contained milk fat whereas frozen desserts had vanaspati tel​, or vegetable oil. 

Justice SJ Kathawalla had found the campaign sought “to malign or belittle a rival manufacturer's product​” and banned the advert, which had by then been aired for over three months, pending appeal.

Speaking ahead of the appeal, RS Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, Amul’s brand owner, said the new action would show how the role of the commercial had merely been to educate consumers about the differences between frozen desserts and ice creams.

Back in court, Amul’s counsel told two justices that the June order had been “like a blanket ban”​. The co-operative, which has 3.6m members and a turnover of US$4.1bn, argued that the previous order could simply have sought omission of any footage that HUL objected to.

The Amul ice creams ad doesn't denigrate HUL's frozen desserts, but merely informs consumers that frozen desserts contain vanaspati tel​,” said Ravi Kadam, for the co-operative.

In response, HUL’s brief argued that the campaign had been “actuated by malice​” and designed to “exploit the vulnerable minds of parents​”.

The ad will stay off the air at least until the next court date, August 21, which will decide on whether to admit the appeal and seek relief.

Related topics: Business, Asian tastes, South Asia, Dairy

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