As a follow up to our earlier blog related to the appropriation of Unilever's 'Magnum' ice-cream brand by Sampoerna (Philip Morris). Saksara received a response from Unilver to our claim that the cigarette brand was deliberately branding cigarettes with the aesthetics of the very popular Magnum ice-cream. Below is Unilever's response.
"We believe our consumer (Magnum ice cream consumer) is not confused on this name similarity nor they will assume that these two product has a mutual relationship". Unilever official response.
We would encourage our readers to make up their own mind as to whether Unilever's indifference to this is justified, or if it is a gross breach of their moral and corporate responsibility to take Sampoerna to task over it.
The image below is the freezer section at our local supermarket in Jakarta. The 'Magnum Blue" cigarette brand has been superimposed over the top to demonstrate the similarity. Saksara has written to the chairperson of Unilever's corporate and social responsibility board. We will await their response.
Indonesia has the highest rate of male smokers in the world (over 70%), and is strategically targeting increases in female smokers. Tobacco represents more than 50% of the income expenditure for the average Indonesian household, greater than education and healthcare. Around 300,000 Indonesian's die from tobacco related illnesses each year.
Unilever's attitude, ignorance and lack of corporate and social responsibility are major contributing factors to the continuation of this tragedy.