Bertolli Olive Oil advertising bludgers


I periodically receive emails from spammers contacting me via the blog. They always want guest posts, always explain how they have been published at other sites and how their fantastic writing will generate massive amounts of traffic for me…and them. The proposals are usually from little known people with silly emails and get binned.

Once in a while though a reputable company and brand contacts me. The pitch is essentially the same…and they never want to pay for the privilege of embedding their brand in my blog.

Take Bertolli Olive Oil. They are a major corporate brand, part of the massive Unilever group. They don’t do anything for nothing…except try and bludge social media traffic off large traffic blog sites. Check out this email:

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 8:23 PM

From: Matilda Aldridge <matilda.aldridge[at]>

To: whaleoilbeefhooked[at]

Hi there,

I hope you are well.

I’m currently contacting top bloggers for a campaign that Bertolli Olive Oil is about to launch. Bertolli has been on the market for 150 years and is the leading olive oil brand in the world. I believe your blog would be a great fit for this campaign.

We would love to get you involved and give you the opportunity to establish a long-term partnership with Bertolli Olive Oil.  

If you are interested, I would love to have a chat, my number is 02 9046 3710 or I can alternatively send you the press pack.

Thanks very much and I look forward to hearing from you.


Kind regards,



matilda aldridge, content & community manager, we are social
a: 107 Regent Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008
m: +61 450 721 171, w: 02 9046 3710 twitter: @Tilly_Aldridge, skype: matilda-daisy

So, a chat was had. Regan, who handles the advertising on my site contacted Matilda, who informed him that there was no budget for this campaign…the usual response after attempting a bludge.

Matilda was asked how much she is being paid for organisaing the campaign, she declined to answer, citing commercial sensitivity…so her, and her company “We Are Social” are being paid, presumably by Bertolli‘s agency to organise a social media campaign and attempt to poach traffic from the people who have the audience and they don;t wish to part with the substantial amount of hooter that they are being paid, even just a little bit.

“We Are Social” pitch themselves like as some sort of social media gurus…and note they boast of having Unilever as a client.

Hello, we are social. We’re a global conversation agency, with offices in London, New York, Paris, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Sydney & São Paulo. We help brands to listen, understand and engage in conversations in social media.

We’re a new kind of agency, but conversations between people are nothing new. Neither is the idea that ‘markets are conversations’.

We’re already helping adidas, Heinz, Unilever, Heineken, eBay, Jaguar, Intel, Moët & Chandon & Expedia.
If you’d like to chat about us helping you too, then give us a call on +44 20 3195 1700 or drop us an email.

So they are a commercial organisation, charging moonbeams to major corporates for social media engagement without actually passing on any of the fruits of that engagement with MY audience. This sort of leeching and bludging behaviour is unacceptable.

Which is strange considering their “Ethics” page:

We believe that honest and meaningful conversations enable brands to participate in communities, build trust, and ultimately help create better products, services and experiences. We tell this to our clients, partner agencies, people we want to work with, and we are equally committed to behaving in this way ourselves.

When we outreach to a blogger or participate in a community we will always be clear about who we are and who we represent. We will never ask anyone to say anything they do not believe.

We place great importance in understanding the blogs and communities we speak to and participate in, and we always endeavour to talk to people about things that are relevant and interesting to them.

Interesting isn’t it…they use the buzz terms “outreach”….except that doesn’t mean pay for placement or content or anything at all. They are “ethical” bludgers…how nice. It is true that they will never ask anyone to say anything they do not believe…they also won’t pay them for the things that they do believe.

So, Bertolli Olive Oil and Unilever needs a little social media lesson on why bludging is unacceptable even if they think it is ethical. They are getting paid for the campaign I fail to see why bloggers and the people with the engagement and the audience shouldn’t be paid also.

I sent this email around a number of bloggers to let them know about this attempt to bludge off their traffic. Cactus Kate replied with a photo…

One of only 3 things in Cactus Kate's kitchen

One of only 3 things in Cactus Kate’s kitchen

Cactus Kate is not known for her culinary abilities, she has been known to burn water. This is not a good sign that one of only three items in her kitchen. I doubt it is for cooking…I wonder what on earth she would have that for?

One thing I did look up is whether or not Bertolli Olive Oil could be used as a sexual lubricant. Turns out you can. There are hundreds of articles about the benefits of using Bertolli Olive Oil as a sexual lubricant.

There are many Q&A sites too that have questions like this:

Q. I read about the woman who uses Bertolli Olive Oil as a personal lubricant. Is it safe to apply the olive oil directly inside the vagina?

A. Some women may have allergic reactions, so it would be prudent to do a “patch test” on the inner arm first. If it is safe enough to eat, though, it is probably safer than certain other things used as personal lubricants. Do keep in mind that all oils are incompatible with latex, causing it to deteriorate, so must not be used with barrier contraceptives. For that, water-based lubricants are much safer.

There are also other ingredients which can be used either with your Bertolli Olive Oil or by themselves.

Even if you haven’t had problems with synthetic lubricants, using natural products can make a difference in your sex life. Here are some natural ingredients to look for in products or to use by themselves: aloe vera gel, vitamin E oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, shea butter, and even some of the oils in your pantry, including Bertolli Olive Oil and almond oil. Please note, however, that oils are not compatible with latex condoms, so you need to use nonlatex condoms if you’re lubing up with any type of butter or oil.

One thing that Bertolli Olive Oil isn’t recommended for is anal sex, the preferred lubricant for anal sex are silicone based rather than using something like Bertolli Olive Oil.

Apparently though Bertolli Olive oil is great for masturbation.

Given that We Are Social, Unilever and Bertolli Olive Oil don’t believe in sharing the love, perhaps it is true that Bertolli Olive Oil is best for masturbation, especially on Facebook.

Is Bertolli Olive Oil the cheapest personal lubricant on the market?


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  • Whafe

    Nothing like a little Whaleoil Sun………
    Not that I use the so called most popular olive oil in the world now, because it is crap… I will not be in the future. I like to taste my oil….

    • BigDes

      If ya want to taste it whafe, I’d be careful where you apply it! ;-)

    • AnonWgtn

      Its the extra Virgin I do not understand – where can I find one ?

      • sandynobb

        72 extra virgins in Heaven if you’re a martyr.

        • Hazards001

          Boom Boom!

          • andrew carrot

            A study conducted at Queens University, Dublin (yes, catholic Eire), in 1998, determined that olive oil – presumably the extra virgin variety – had a lesser effect on spermatozoa mortality than K-Y lube. The Southern Euros, esp the Greeks, swear by it.

          • Hazards001

            Wasn’t quite the boom boom I had in mind when replying to sandynobs comment re virgins & martyrs. But I take your point.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Does this mean this site won’t be renamed to BertolliOil?

    • richard.b

      Or perhaps Unilever might like to change their brand name from Bertolli Olive Oil to Whale Oil?
      You might be able to get some royalties Mr Whale.

      • andrew carrot

        Whale oil doesn’t grow on trees; I imagine PR flunkys like Matilda would erase the soles of their Jimmy Choos trying to get away from that product endorsement job.

  • Naylor

    What a fucking mess for matilda aldridge’s client. Must be in crisis meetings about now trying to work out how to keep the client! Wonder if she’ll have a job at the end of the week?

  • LionKing

    It’s outrageous that Cactus Kate would need such a thing. Clearly left behind by an ex-boyfriend.

  • Hillary Green

    My goodness, the Olive Oil Wars really are heating up! I wonder if that Margaret Edwards “expert” could give a professional view as to its suitability as a sexual lube?

  • DLM

    Well that should fuck up the Bertolli Olive Oil brand. All you need now is some WO stickers that the WO army can stick to the supermarket shelves where Bertolli Olive Oil is sold warning consumers that its actually a sexual lubricant. Maybe supermarkets will need to move it to the personal hygiene section next to the KY jelly.

    • Dave

      if it had WhaleOil BH stickers, the greenies would never buy it!! Greenpeace would be smashing it all.

    • andrew carrot

      The label states it’s formulated for the use of extra virgins. Cunning.

  • 4077th

    Pretty sure Popeye would have something to say about his Olive Oil being used in someone else’s vagina!

  • cows4me

    I drank some by mistake, someone told me it was Chartreuse (party antics), you can add screaming shits to your list.

    • Donovan Jackson

      Hehe, also spray and pray :-D

  • Jman

    I think thanks to this post, Unilever just got their moneys worth

  • Bunswalla

    What a terrible cold-call email. Given I have a day-job I won’t go into every mistake made, but here are a few:

    1. Don’t send an email. If you want to have a relationship with a blogger that you hope will result in them plugging your product, pick up the phone. Better yet, take them for a long lunch, but given they’re in Australia, a phone call will do.

    2. “Hi there” – you call yourself a professional organisation?

    3. “I hope you are well” – nothing screams meaningless platitude like the forced small-talk at the start of an email such as this. I assume Matilda doesn’t know you, and doesn’t know anything about your medical history or current state of health. Are you supposed to feel better about her ham-fisted approach after this insincere greeting? She could have at least said something like “I’ve been following your blog for some time, it’s being talked about a lot in Sydney. I really like what you’re doing and it’s obviously working, based on your statistics.”

    4. “Bertolli has been on the market for 150 years and is the leading olive oil brand in the world. I believe your blog would be a great fit for this campaign.” Well, pardon my French, but that’s fucking lovely for YOU. What about giving me a piece of information that’s of interest or value to ME?

    5. “Bertolli……is the leading olive oil brand in the world.” Great, you must be making shit-loads of money, you know, being the 800lb gorilla in the market. I’m sure you’re about to get to the bit where you offer me something of value…

    6.”If you are interested, I would love to have a chat, my number is 02 9046 3710 or I can alternatively send you the press pack.” Quite possibly the weakest call to action ever. Doesn’t even acknowledge it’s an overseas call, probably hasn’t bothered to work out that NZ is a different country, and expects Cam to pick up the phone. She should be saying something like “I’ll call you tomorrow afternoon to discuss how we can work together to drive more value from each of our brands.”

    7. ” twitter: @Tilly_Aldridge, skype: matilda-daisy” – really? You want to present yourself as a professional communications agency and you call yourself Tilly and Matilda-Daisy? You were presumably christened Matilda; it’s not a bad name, I’ve certainly heard worse. If you’re going to keep it, then keep it and be consistent (marketing and communications 101). If you don’t like it, then change it to something else. But not Daisy-Boo or Milly-Molly-Mandy, nobody will take you seriously.

    • Donovan Jackson

      Spray and pray.

  • Agent BallSack

    Just pointing out that nowhere has Bertolli or Unilever actually had a finger in this, I am sure they pay fees to people like this all the time to have product placement, etc. Trashing the brand because of one silly chooks idea of free placement on blog sites may not be in the best interest of the blog when you consider many potential advertisers may read this site. That said, a multi billion dollar company – if they know of her strategy should be prepared to pay a small amount towards each site as blogging is generally done for free with little or no reward.

    • Bertolli and Unilever do have a hand in this, they employ agencies and other companies like these muppets who always cut out the site owners who actually have the audience these guys want, but value at zero. THey keep the substantial budgets for themselves and send glowing reports to clients about successful blog placements.

      • Dave

        And, they accepted the agencies pitch and their methods. They should by now have a BIG please explain in front of them.

  • boristhefrog

    Oh very good Cam… you should make this the top post for a couple of days! You should as their PR agency whether they use it for lubricating their assholes (i.e. their clients)….

  • Looks to me like a great opportunity for some Google Bombing.
    I think we need a daily posts with the headlines

    Bertoli leaves a bad taste
    Bertoli caused diarrhea
    Bertoli went off before the others

    and so on.

    You know. For free!

    • unsol

      Wouldn’t they just claim any press is good press? I don’t see the point in acknowledging them…oooh apparently we should sell our 2 very awesome structurally sound cars & go buy a piece of crap like a Nissan hatchback. Yeah…..naaah. Advertising only works if you’re easily brainwashed.

      • If you google Bertolli and you see “Bertolli rancid” and “Bertolli diarrhea” in the first 10 search results, you think this can only be positive for the Bertolli brand, do you?

        • unsol

          Why would I waste my time googling them – it is merely olive oil & a no brand/a cheap brand at that.

          If they approached this blog without doing their homework – re how it can easily backfire given the type of blog that it is, then they must clearly think that even if the blog rejects them & trashes them in a post that it is time well spent. That some press is better than no press.

          • Companies spend megabucks trying to have a good Google ranking. Google as a company survives on the whole premise of people searching for stuff, and them putting up ads around those searches, and you continue to hold the view that just because you personally wouldn’t search for Bertolli on Google, that people talking about them in a negative sense on the Internet so that these negative results would be presented by Google on the first results page would not be damaging to Bertolli. Have I got this right?

          • unsol

            Making a meal out of a non issue Pete. I said “wouldn’t they just claim any press is good press” at which point you said you googled them & found x amount of results so I responded by saying why would I google them – they are a a nothing brand

            I stated earlier that their ingredients are no different to the much cheaper Pams (in terms of quality etc) so if I am after a cheap olive oil I would go for Pams.

            In terms of your googling defence – this falls into the same premise of general advertising; it assumes people are dumb & easily brainwashed. If you are after a good olive oil you search for what the best ingredients are first & foremost & then you search for brands that have those ingredients. This product would never come up in that search.

          • Only because I am confused now, where did I say I googled them?

          • CheesyEarWax

            Bertolli brand may not be worth much to you and I, but its very important to the brand owner. Especially in FMCG market, where it costs $$$ to build. Bad press does damage their brand in terms of $$$.

          • unsol

            I agree – but if that’s the case then why risk cold calling a contentious blog, a blog that thrives on scoffing at others? If they were precious about their brand vs bad press you would think they would be a little more careful…

  • Lick my chops

    I’m crying with laughter.
    It is so good to see teeth filing followed by the successive bite of a wanky social media marketing agency.
    Bet that media slag Matilda (what the hell were her parents thinking giving her such an awful name) rubs that up the inner thigh.

    • andrew carrot

      She’s an Aussie, hence her name.

  • Well oiled Beef

    What a crap job Matilda has. Bombing bloggers and Facebook for plugs of product that nobody gives a toss about isn’t my picture of ‘career nirvana’. Please don’t tell me she got a degree from Uni to do that?

    • I suspect Matilda is “working from home”. “You too can earn $$$$$ with our own PC in your own time”, etc. She probably recently had a baby, and is bored out of her skull in between feedings and catching up with naps.

      • unsol

        Harsh man! Yes newborn baby work is monotonous & exhausting but the time with baby isn’t.

  • OT Richter

    So her initial response was “no budget for this campaign” – did you consider another approach: “I may be interested, but only on the basis that a commercial agreement can be reached. Can you please get back to me when you have discussed this option with your client.”

    Bite the hand that feeds you…

  • RightNow

    University of California, Davis found in 2010 that Bertolli “Extra Virgin” Olive Oil didn’t meet the specifications and was really only “Virgin” grade Olive Oil. I wonder if they’ve remedied that problem yet?

  • Mr Sackunkrak

    I woke up today not knowing that Bertolli Olive Oil was OK for vaginal intercourse, but not so good up the arse. Life is indeed a box of chocolates.

    • Agent BallSack

      Do Bertolli make Palm oil as well? Wonder if it’s ethically sourced.

      • Bunswalla

        Wait, I get it – “palm” oil – hehehehee.

        That was a wank joke, right?

      • Dave

        Ask trevor i hear he uses a fair amount of “Palm” oil, then again, trevor and ethics do not go together.

  • Serious question: I wonder what the hit rate is approaching blogs asking for free exposure? Seriously. It’s not as if this stuff is Lorenzo’s Oil and there is a wider societal interest in getting the information out far and wide for free.

  • unsol

    The whole premise behind advertising – whether via TV or social media including blogs – is complete & utter bullshit. It implies most consumers are really dumb, that they will think when in the market to buy something, to only buy what they remember being advertised. That this idea of brainwashing works. Sure some do but those who spend the most money, who buy the big ticket items or buy more expensive items – no way. But maybe I am wrong. Maybe everyone is gullible & stupid & has no idea how to do their research before committing their money. Maybe the sales post advertising prove this….but I doubt it. They may get the dumbest consumers on board, but they wont win the bulk of the money. If that was the case we would ALL be shopping at countdown, driving Great Walls & getting our teeth whitened at lumina dentists.

    As for advertising on this blog – never noticed it. Having a good look now at the entire page I can see a small section up the top. Cant see how this generates sales. And as for the oil – it’s an OK product, but the ingredients are the same as Pams which is cheaper. So it is a nothing brand to me. If I spend money on olive oil I buy Villa Magra or if NZ something like Mill Bay.

    • Bunswalla

      That’s the thing about advertising, so much of it is smoke and mirrors (translation: bullshit). The old saw goes something like “I know that only 50% of my advertising is effective – the problem is I don’t know which 50%!”

      A lot of advertising is about “building a brand” or a brand image. For example just about everybody in NZ knows what you mean when you say something followed by “Tui ad” in other words, Yeah, right. Their billboards are iconic, mostly laugh-out-loud funny, and often very clever. Everybody knows what the product is (beer) and the brand (Tui) and yet how many of us (if any) have repaid that investment by making a buying decision based on the billboards? I would wager very few – the same goes for Speights (good on ya mate!), Steinlager Pure (cringe-worthy Taika Waititi adverts), Heineken and just about every other brand. And very little of it works.

      The other canard is this so-called viral marketing. The bludging Matilda is trying to artificially create a viral social media campaign, and the problem is – you just can’t. Social media users can smell bullshit and spot fakery from a mile away, and will avoid it like the plague. Tell her she’s dreamin’.

      • Anonymous Coward

        Speights, is that the beer that is brewed in Auckland using recycled pee from the Waikato by a Japanese multinational while pretending to come from Otago?

        • Bunswalla

          She’s a hard road finding the perfect brewery mate.

          • Dave

            its called Montieths Buns

          • Bunswalla

            Been through that one too, the vast majority of Monteiths is brewed in Auckland. Only a few of the different varieties are brewed in Greymouth, they more or less keep it open as a working museum/tour facility, and so they can say that at least some of it is brewed on the Coast.

        • Bunswalla

          Actually I’m pretty sure they brew at least some of it in Dunners, we went through the brewery last October and had a good feed in the Alehouse too. If they weren’t brewing beer there, they had very realistic props.

        • andrew carrot

          As a student I went on the compulsory tour of the Dunedin Speights brewery. We were met by the depressed head brewer who said the recipe for three gold medals was changing to “soften its effects” and, more importantly, align the ingredients with those used in other Lion products. In the end, the conversion from tasty-but-evil to benign-and-tasteless took 5 years, a shit load of marketing based on false nostalgia, and the loss of a unique product. The marketers won that round.

      • unsol

        Well said. I would love to know how much knowing a brand translates into sales; I love the old school Speights ads, Tui ads (TV & billboard) as well as the old school ones from Telecom or even the Toyota ones. As a consumer however, I would never actually choose to buy any of those products.

    • CheesyEarWax

      Lol, advertising and branding do work, otherwise there wouldn’t be a whole industry full of Matildas. On the contrary advertisers treat consumers with respect, if they don’t not only they’ll be wasting their clients money but also potentially damage their brand.

      • unsol

        Does it – do you know how much advertising translates into sales? And does that include or exclude repeat sales – which is where the money really is. No doubt anyone can gain the interest of a potential buyer, but keeping them is entirely different.

        • CheesyEarWax

          Thats different types of questions there, all valid. I am no advertising expert but i do work in an industry, not FMCG, where advertising is used on TV, radio and Internet to sell our products and branding. Yes, there are tools in place to measure each campaign, whether it be a straight sales lift or brand awareness.. Not all companies in my industry spend on advertising, some invest in good sales people instead. Horses for courses.

          • Mediaan

            The quote you use about 50% of advertising actually comes from Lord Lever, I believe. According to the Whaleoil comment, he owns this brand of Olive Oil.

        • Bunswalla

          Exactly – just imagine for a moment if there was no more advertising. None, nothing on the internet, TV, billboards, magazines, newspapers, radio stations, no junk mail, no email newsletters, no texts, no people holding signs outside Pizza Hut, no branding on cars, no personalised plates, no skywriting, viral adverts, nada!

          How would we all know what to buy? Wouldn’t we all die within a few weeks through not being able to source options for food, petrol, transport, clothing, make our mind up based on quality and price, and just, you know, consume it?

          Of course we wouldn’t die. Everything would continue as before, we’d buy things we liked and ignore those we didn’t. I can see several ad agencies writhing on the floor as I write this, but think about it – why wouldn’t it work?

  • bobby

    It’s amazing that companies who try to pull crap like that can even be referred to as PR companies. In actually one of the times where you get to see how little knowledge these so-called social media experts have of the concept of public relations at all. They are basically just hacks who figured out how to pimp stuff on facebook and twitter and had the balls to get someone to pay them for these services.

    They actually have more in common with used car salesmen than any remotely real PR person has.

    The most accurate call I’ve heard about PR is: the *best* PR is the stuff you don’t even realise is PR. If a PR company has to tell you what is going on then they probably aren’t very good at it.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Mr Bertolli senior is requesting the presence of Matilda and Margaret some time soon.
    He will send a car to collect you

  • RightOfGenghis

    just a hunch but the use of ‘vergine’ on the label suggests something a little smelly. Like it doesn’t meet the grade but we’ll make it sound like it does to fool the masses…