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Jul 9, 2008

The next ban: Vaseline and Hellman's Mayonnaise

I was initially not going to post about this, but the story has now taken an interesting twist, so I thought I would mention it.

Recently, the beginning of the week, Unilever brought in some internationally recognized DJ/model Nicci Belucci to host a promotional campaign for one of their products, AXE deodorants. It seems that she is a very provocative model and, true to her reputation, she ran the promotion while topless (no I do not have a video link for this).

The Haredim heard about it and threatened to boycott Unilever. That would be major, and probably impossible, as Unilever is a major importer and manufacturer, one of the largest, of basic products such as AXE, Vaseline, foods such as cereals, chocolates, pretzels, margarines, mayonaisse, soaps, detergents, etc. Basic items used by everybody, many of them with a Badat'z hechsher.

The various committees demanded apologies saying things such as from Mottka Bloi (the guy who ran the bans on MBD and Shweckey a while back) "we should not have to hear about this type of outrage", "bring an abonimation to Eretz Yisrael", "the gedolim have to consider a boycott" etc. From Goldknopff (the guy running the threat of boycott against Shefa Shuk and ran the boycott against El Al and others) we have things like, "Every product has an alternative", "if things are not immediately repaired, people should not buy products from them", "people who want to work with us have to know we have our sensitivities", etc. From Shmuel Peppenheim, the former spokesperson for the Eida Haredis and current representative of the Eidah hechsher, we have quotes like, "Obviously we are considering removing our hechsher", "we cannot allow this to pass quietly" etc.

Unilever Israel issued an apology to the Haredi comunity, saying AXE is an international brand following an international advertising policy set by the company, the event was private, Unilever respects all its customers, including the Haredi customers, we apologize, blah blah blah...

The interesting thing is the next part of the story. After Unilever issued its apology yesterday, Peppenheim from the Eidah Haredis has responded again. This time, he says, the apology is not enough. According to TheMarker, Peppenheim said to them, "Originally the apology would have been enough. But now [RG: I have no idea what changed], the Badatz has decided to demand that Unilever issue an apology in the secular media as well, because they have hurt the secular people no less than they have hurt us." .

So from this story it comes out that, aside from banning Hellman's Mayonnaise, the Badatz is concerned about, and looks after the welfare, of secular Israelis, and not just the identity of Haredi Judaism, as they generally claim. I just thought that was an interesting twist I would share with you.


  1. I'd love to know how they all knew about the ad campaign to begin with. Did they all have to review the "abomination" before giving their public statements?

    Do they think this is the first time Unilever has run an untznius ad campaign for one of it's many products? Perhaps these rabbis are aware of their other ads and developed a tolerance policy that has been overstepped in this particular case.

    They would have let the matter go if the model had smaller bazongas. Women can only appear scantily clad in Unilever ads if they are below a certain cup size.

  2. I currently have to withold responding to your comment because no matter how hard I looked, I ave not been able (yet) to find a video of the promotion. When I do, I will let you know what was so bad about it...

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. i usually think this haredi tendency to ban anything and everything is ridiculous, but i have to agree with them that that ad is way over the line. i did not watch the video, but even the pictures on the website are basically porn lite. i realize that they are trying to market Axe as a lady magnet, but this is pretty offensive.

  5. oh yeah - one more comment. bazongas??? c'mon frumhouse. lets be adults here.

  6. in principle I agree with you, tzip, and it sounds like this promotional event was over the top. But then again, it was a private event. They did not post posters of her all over Jerusalem or run her video on the television. It was a private party.

  7. rafi - I'll refrain from watching the video and leave to those of you with smichah to determine the propriety. :)

    tzip - I might have to grow old but I don't have to grow up. :)

  8. So, now Jews are going to *avoid* products with the U. :)

    The Wolf

  9. sorry -matis and I don't see anything inappropriate about that ad! We looked and looked and blew the pics up as large as possible, they only looked better!

    Oh well, I gotta get back to checking these pics closer. maybe I'll find something......

  10. ok, so on a more practical note...

    they are upset that a goyish company chose to have nudity at a party that was PRIVATE for people who chose to be there.... do they also ask other companies to check their records and make sure no other inappropriatness, like embezzelment, is going on? why always pick on sex and not other issues? what's their obssesion with sex issues?

  11. Rafi,

    I don't think it is appropriate that you left the comment by religion to stand. Check with you LOR.

  12. upon consultation I took down the link, despite being posted with a warning.

  13. Thanks Rafi,

    You are a real mensch for doing the right thing and removing the link.

  14. I think the chareidim are going too far..

    Its funny though, the same ones that bash rubashkin for "unethical" behavior.. claiming it affects the hechsher.. they would defend axe against the eida's attack of being wrong..

  15. Can't live w/o Hellman's sorry. Would trade all the Chareidim in Israel for one jar of Hellmans!

  16. Unilever makes me nauseous. Their AXE commercials are toxic to humanity, and their corporate policies reflect nothing but unbridled greed. Every time they buy out another food brand, they proceed to destroy the product...Hellman's mayonnaise being only their most recent. They took a great recipe, replaced the ingredients with more water, and really just bought the brand name to destroy the product. This is beyond insulting to the consumer...as if they don't think people are going to notice the difference, or perhaps the consumer is incapable of reading the ingredients list. They did the same thing with Breyers products, and there is a consistent pattern of disregard for humanity in just about all of their corporate decision-making schemes...I applaud haredi on this call


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