Talk about marketing risk!

I saw a Reuters story today about an interesting promotion conducted by consumer products giant Unilever. According to the report, a direct mail campaign promoting a brand of margarine saw the Anglo-Dutch company sending knives to 200,000 Dutch families.

 Evidently three children wound up being injured by the knives, which had a metal blade and a plastic hilt, and 50 parents filed complaints. Since mailing out the marketing piece earlier this month, Unilever said it sent a second letter urging recipients of the original promotional materials to dispose of the knife. The company said it hasn’t received any requests for compensation from recipients of its pointed campaign.

This isn’t the first time a company’s marketing efforts have left me shaking my head, though the account of this Unilever campaign was a particular stunner. It’s a good thing the folks responsible weren’t marketing one of the Call of Duty video games, they might have sent out hand grenades! It’s probably an even better thing for Unilever that the company wasn’t sending out this marketing packet in the U.S. Imagine the response a campaign like this might generate among some particularly enterprising plaintiff’s lawyers!

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