Minimal economic drawback for pulling TRESemmé off shelves – economist

Minimal economic drawback for pulling TRESemmé off shelves – economist

Efficient Group chief economist Dawie Roodt believes the decision to temporarily pull TRESemmé off the shelves won’t have any significant economic impact. 

Shopping trolley in aisle

This comes after Unilever agreed to withdraw the brand from all retail outlets for a period of ten days following the fallout over a racist advertising campaign for TRESemmé on the Clicks website. 

The advert triggered EFF protests outside Clicks stores countrywide, with the party demanding that its outlets be shut down until Friday. 

Clicks, Dis-Chem, Makro, Shoprite/ Checkers, Pick N Pay and Woolworths have since removed TRESemmé products from their shelves. 

Roodt says the decision will hardly dent the broader South African economy. 

“Obviously the impact on that specific manufacturer is not going to be that much because they’re a large manufacturer and they manufacture globally but certainly for the local branch it will have an impact.

“One can expect the local financial performance of the local business will be affected by that but the broader economy is certainly not going to be affected. There’s plenty of competition in that kind of market and even if they are removed permanently from South Africa, that is also not going to have much of an impact for the South African economy."


Unilever agrees to pull TRESemmé products from shelves

The company met with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Thursday following a racist advertising campaign for TRESemmé on the Clicks website. Clicks and Unilever came under fire after a TRESemmé advert on the health and beauty retailer's website depicted black people's hair as "dry and dull" while white people's hair was depicted as "normal".

Roodt says the pressure by the EFF appears to be politically-motivated.

“What is far more important is not whether that specific manufacturer’s products are going to be removed, it’s the fact that we allowed this to happen because many other potential manufacturers will now think twice before they manufacture in South Africa because of the possibility of a political fallout,” Roodt explains. 

“It’s more of an image issue which will taint South Africa than the actual impact on the economy itself. The EFF see this an opportunity to score a lot of publicity and they’ve been very successful in this.”  

He adds the consumers will bear the brunt of the fallout.  

“That is one of the arguments that if we remove a foreign provider off certain products from our shelves that will give opportunity for local producers. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that because you should always leave the choice to the consumer.”

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