Following its recent push into Asian beauty with the acquisition of Carver Korea, Unilever has unwittingly gotten itself into an unfortunate case of name association with another Korean peninsula – North Korea.
This followed the launch of its new shower gel brand KJU – which coincidentally shares the same initials as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. According to Bloomberg, the mistake was pointed out and admitted to by Alan Jope, the company’s head of personal care following a meeting with investors. Jope explained that the company only realised what the initials stood for after it had trademarked the product. In a statement to Marketing, a Unilever spokesperson confirmed that KJU is not named after Kim Jong Un and declined to comment further.
Currently, KJU, which is perfumed by Lux, is targeted at urban Millennials, with plans for debut in China. The new label was created in collaboration with a Korean designer.
Most recently, Unilever agreed to fork out US$2.7 billion to buy South Korean cosmetics company Carver Korea from Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital Private Equity. This was in a bid to build a global beauty business. Carver, founded in 1999, became the “fastest-growing” skincare business in South Korea through the sales of its brand AHC, which focuses on age management, and hydration and nourishment, according to the press statement.