But even after the supposed women’s conference, Unilever happily carried on. In the days that followed, posters appeared everywhere in Kampala showing a smiling woman in an apron in front of the perfect home: “Get more from your husband. The secret is Royco.” A Ugandan online news site quoted the national head of Unilever, Joanita Menya, as saying: “We can assure you that women who cook with Royco bring more than just the family back home but also create grateful husbands. If you didn’t know how to have your husband increase the kameeza money, now you know the secret.”
Following a written inquiry from DER SPIEGEL, Unilever quickly began trying to control the damage. The press office in London declined to answer specific questions, instead providing a general statement: “We are very sorry that the campaign perpetuated stereotypical gender roles. We should have done things differently and we will review this in order to prevent it happening again.” It also stated that the campaign would immediately be halted.
Unilever had pledged in 2016 to refrain from using sexist stereotypes in its advertising campaigns and called on its competitors to do the same. Unilever’s marketing boss, Keith Weed, told the BBC at the time that the company had a responsibility to work for change “on a broader social level.” It would seem that the company has failed to deliver on that promise.