Colgate’s Distasteful Toothpaste
This case discusses the implications Colgate faced when partnering with Hawley and Hazel in August 1985 (Luthans & Doh, 2012). The case presents “Darkie”, an objectionable toothpaste product being sold in the Asian market by Hawley and Hazel for almost 65 years. “Darkie” toothpaste featured a black-faced man on the packaging; modeled after entertainer, Al Jolson. Once Colgate partnered with Hawley and Hazel ethical issues began to arise as American’s were infuriated over the distasteful name and logo of the toothpaste. A package from a consumer in Thailand sparked a fire under the ICCR and they began their fight with Colgate. Due to several failed attempts to have the name and logo changed through Colgate, the ICCR turned to the NAACP and National Urban League to initiate protests against Colgate and their support of the “Darkie” toothpaste. The protests caused Colgate’s image to be tainted in the eyes of all American’s; ultimately Colgate paid for a name and logo change for the controversial toothpaste and has detached itself from the conflict-ridden product and from Hawley and Hazel. In this dissertation I will examine the strategic and ethical issues Colgate faced in its partnership. I will also discuss my recommendations for handling the situation and address the repercussions of changing advertisement on consumer brand loyalty. Finally, I will explore the “no management rights” stipulation Colgate agreed to with Hawley and Hazel.
Strategic and ethical issues arose from the partnership of Colgate and Hawley and Hazel; issues that severely tarnished the Colgate name. The strategic issues Colgate faced in the partnership included the lack of management rights, which stripped Colgate of the right to make major decisions in the organization. Also, because Colgate acquired fifty percent of Hawley and Hazel as a way to break into the Asian market without costly infrastructure, they faced dramatic