Unilever drops lawsuit against Hampton Creek
- Unilever, maker of the Hellmann's brand, has withdrawn its lawsuit against Hampton Creek, parent of the vegan mayonnaise brand Just Mayo.
- The lawsuit proved a public relations disaster, as consumers heaped scorn on the company for what they viewed as a frivolous lawsuit. Things got worse when Unilever was caught changing the definitions of its own products on its website because they, too, didn't meet the standard that Unilever wanted a court to enforce.
- In filing for the dismissal, Unilever suggests it still has a problem with Just Mayo being called mayo, and said it expects Hampton Creek will "address its label directly with industry groups and appropriate regulatory authorities."
It's been clear from the start of this case that Unilever had stumbled. This was a perfect example of what can go wrong when you don't think things through, may not necessarily understand social media, and turn to lawyers, rather than consumers, to build a brand.
Meanwhile, Hampton Creek said it has received $90 million in its Series C financing round, now totaling at $120 million. While Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures have invested before (and did so again), Eduardo Saverin - Facebook's co-founder - and Marc Benioff, Salesforce founder and CEO, are new backers. This is for sure a company we're going to watch heading into 2015.