SA's biggest food producer halts advertising amid unrest

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Photo: Unilever SA
Photo: Unilever SA

Tiger Brands, South Africa's biggest food manufacturer, has halt its advertising campaigns amid widespread unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

"Out of respect for our consumers, Tiger Brands has made the decision to temporarily suspend consumer marketing activities at a time when many of South Africans are facing difficulties in accessing products due to the closure of retail outlets, a spokesperson said. 

"We are engaging with government and support efforts by law enforcement agencies to restore calm, reopen key distribution routes and create a safe environment for the resumption of normal business activity."

On Thursday, the company confirmed that it lost more than R150 million in stock following looting at a number of its sites in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tiger Brands own brands like All Gold, Black Cat, Colman's, Crosse And Blackwell, Koo as well as Spray and Cook.

Earlier this week, the British giant Unilever, one of the world’s biggest consumer companies, also suspended its advertising campaigns in South Africa amid widespread looting and unrest.

"We can confirm that we have paused all traditional and digital advertising until further notice," a Unilever spokesperson told Fin24 on Tuesday evening.

Unilever owns brands like Surf, Joko, Lipton, Vaseline, Omo, Handy Andy, Knorr, Robertson’s Spices and Ola ice cream. It opened its first South African factory in 1911, and currently operates six production facilities in Durban and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Boksburg and Midrand in Gauteng.

While Unilever did not confirm the reason for the suspension of its advertising, hundreds of stores that sell Unilever products have been looted in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal after riots erupted over the weekend. It's not clear whether its own factories have also been targeted.

In September last year, Unilever was forced to issue an apology after its TRESemmé brand was involved in a marketing campaign on the Clicks website that promoted racist stereotypes about hair. Clicks stores were forced to close in the wake of the furore.

This week, Clicks closed all its stores in KwaZulu-Natal after shops were looted.

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