Unilever’s Bertolli Olive Oil cops one in the chops

The other day I blogged about Bertolli Olive Oil Advertising Bludgers. ‘We are Social’ got a slapping, as did Unilever after the expose by Cactus Kate of Bertolli Olive Oil as a possible sexual lubricant.

Low and behold I end up getting phone calls from Emma Peacock, Unilever’s Head of Communications for Unilever Australia and New Zealand.

Emma Peacock

Emma Peacock also sent an email saying

“Just wanted to clarify that Bertolli Olive Oil is no longer owned by Unilever globally and therefore Unilever in New Zealand and Australia is not involved in any marketing campaigns for Bertolli Olive Oil. Additionally no-one in our marketing team in NZ or Australia seems to be familiar with the agency you mentioned “We are Social”.

Oh really.  

One of only 3 things in Cactus Kate's kitchen

One of only 3 things in Cactus Kate’s kitchen

See, if you’re the Head of Communications for Unilever, you’d expect to be across the business, and know which brands your company promotes etc. It must be a tough gig to be their senior spin-doctor trying to say that Unilever no longer “owned” Bertolli Olive Oil, yet all the online searches all point to Bertolli Olive Oil still belongs to, and is still being managed by Unilever. Why else would Unilever allow consumers to think the company manages a product when it isn’t?  Or are they just in the habit of misleading consumers?

If you doubt this, try these links:





And my personal favourite from Bertolli.com (just select New Zealand from the country list)


With Unilever being an international company, brands may come and go. But when Emma Peacock then says “we do still own other Bertolli brands such as Bertolli spreads so it can be confusing” she’s right on the money that it’s confusing.

So Unilever owns some Bertolli brands not other Bertolli brands. What happens when consumers have a problem with Bertolli products and do an online search as to who owns the brand? Aside from finding that Bertolli Olive Oil has other uses; most consumers would probably call Unilever.

What a murky mess Unilever now finds itself in.  They have disowned ‘We are Social’, who I must say have been less than social, and now they are disowning any knowledge of a brand that for all intents and purposes still appears to be theirs.

And all of this as due to an Australian company thinking that New Zealand bloggers are the same as Australian bloggers. Seems typical of the Aussies trying to think that we’re just another state in Australia and not taking the time to recognise New Zealand is a different market all together.

The situation with who actually owns the brand and who wants to take responsibility for attempting to bludge of bloggers with an audience seems unresolved. Everyone is pointing the finger at someone else.

Who would want a brand that is so “confused”. Some company in the US owns the Bertolli brand for ready to eat meals, Unilever owns the brand, so they say, for oil based spreads whatever those are and some Spanish crowd actually owns the oil brand…who redirect their site back to bertolli.com which is owned by Unilever…


The Facebook presence is equally confused with the Bertolli Olive Oil page ending up with a link to an unconnected website that has no ownership details.  The Bertolli page ends up at yet another location.

What a way to wreck your brand….have zero control over it…let someone like the idiots at ‘We are Social’ piss off a blogger with millions of pageviews a month and then all run for the hills when all hell unleashes.


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  • blokeintakapuna

    Never a better reason to “Buy NZ Made!”

    • 4077th

      Did Holmes ever get his Oil to market? I would happily patronise his products if NZ based and made.

      • Never in the dark…..

        Yes he did. They were good(ish). There are definitely some superior products out here: The Village Press (Hawke’s Bay) and Azzuro (Medal winners from Waiheke) come to mind.

  • richard.b

    Do Dah!

  • LionKing

    What a fucking joke and it certainly makes Unilever out to be either a bunch of fucking lairs or just simply incompetent. Here is a demonstration of how a brand can be destroyed online thanks to the incompetence of Australians. Way to go Unilever, class act #not!

  • DLM

    ha ha ha Unilever, couldn’t even get their messaging right about who owns the Bertolli brand. Sounded half-pregnant. Unilever will certainly be blamed if something every goes wrong with Bertolli Olive Oil in NZ.

  • Hillary Green

    Oh the poor girl Emma Peacock. I agree that it seems typical of Australians to treat New Zealand as some simple state and its people as Australians. These management people just don’t seem to get it that we are a proud nation, with superior sporting teams and view Australia as a entirely different marketplace. It’s such a pity they don’t give New Zealanders the respect they deserve.

  • Bunswalla

    What a stupid thing to say “Additionally, no-one in our marketing team seems to be familiar with the agency you mentioned…”

    That’s not quite the same as saying; “I can categorically confirm that Unilever has never engaged We are Social in any branding, PR or communications campaign and we have no connection, formal or otherwise, with that organisation.”

    Typical weasel words from a PR flunky (sorry, Head of Communications) probably destined for a career at NZ First, specialising in not answering questions.

  • sadu

    Can Bertolli spreads be used as a personal lubricant or anal lubricant also?

    Or is it just the Bertolli olive oil?

    • dumbshit

      ask clint or maybe emma babe might know

  • Richard

    And whois search results for bertolli.co.nz and bertolli.com.au both point to… Unilever. Registrant is Unilever, and DNS is hosted by Unilever. What a steaming crock.

  • Steve (North Shore)

    Poor Emma, she is embarassed that her sex life has been sort of exposed, and the supply of free oil will stop

  • Jonam182

    Its a really crap website for a company claiming to be Social Media extrodinaires