Unilever has given an undisclosed sum to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in response to the complaint made by the protest group that the use of its peace logo in Lynx promotional materials was “a flagrant co-opting of decades of activism”.
Despite the fact the symbol does not fall under copyright, the campaign group reacted with anger in The Independent recently to what it called Lynx’s “callous” use of its famous symbol on product packaging and advertising for the brand’s new ‘Peace’ range, the slogan of which is ‘make love not war’.
In response, Unilever noted it believed that its use of the symbol was acceptable, as the image is recognized as a “universal symbol of peace”, but nevertheless has now donated to the protest group.
The symbol does not fall under copyright, and as such brands do not need permission to use it; however, the CND was quick to claim that Unilever’s failure to contribute to the group meant the symbol’s use was “disingenuous”.
Unilever has since given a sum to CND’s charitable trust which funds their peace education programme in schools.
“We’re delighted that Unilever has apologised for the way in which our name and symbol have been used, but to be honest it’s no surprise that Unilever has decided to donate,” CND general secretary Kate Hudson said.
“The past week has seen thousands of people taking to Twitter and Facebook to express their outrage and to urge Unilever to do the right thing,” she concluded.
Branding slip ups
Lynx (branded as Axe in the US) is not the only brand which has recently been held to account for the misplacement of symbols with wider cultural significance.
The dispute follows a story involving fellow consumer goods manufacturer P&G, who own such brands as Head & Shoulders and Old Spice, was also recently criticised for the use of the numbers ‘88’ and ‘18’ on its Ariel washing powder products in Germany.
The two figures are used by neo-Nazi groups to denote in code the initials for ‘Heil Hitler’ and ‘Adolph Hitler’.
“We very much regret if there are any false associations and distance ourselves clearly from any far-right ideology,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement.