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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.