Battle of sticks: Fonterra and Nice Blocks battle it out for who has the 'nicer' block

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  • November 6, 2018
  • Caitlin Salter
Battle of sticks: Fonterra and Nice Blocks battle it out for who has the 'nicer' block

An unconventional ice block battle has emerged on social media after Fonterra-owned ice cream brand Kapiti launched its new ice block flavours by positioning itself on social media as a 'nicer block'. The wording was an apparent direct jab at its rival, Nice Blocks, an independently owned Kiwi brand known for its ethically made, artisan ice blocks. After a skirmish on social media, the controversy has died down and the brands have made peace. Nice Blocks co-owner James Crow has a chat about the kerfuffle. 

Nice Blocks has had to turn to an unconventional social media campaign, after competing brand Kapiti launched its new flavours by positioning itself on social media as 'nice'. 

Fonterra brand Kapiti posted a picture on their social media channels this week with the new ice blocks and the tagline, 'Try a Nicer Block'. 

Nice Blocks, which creates dairy-free, organic and Fair Trade ice blocks, then retaliated by recreating Kapiti's image with its own products, and removing the 'r'. Nice Blocks also invited their fans to post on Kapiti's pages with ideas for how they could be a nicer brand.

Kapiti's original post has now been deleted. 

The brands both posted on Instagram and Facebook, and Nice Blocks fans were quick to take the artisan company up on the challenge and started commenting on Kapiti's pages – until Instagram comments were disabled and individual Facebook comments were deleted. 

Nice Blocks co-owner James Crow says Kapiti's campaign felt pointed from the start, but Nice wanted to use it as an opportunity to see another company do better. 

"They're prodding us so we thought we'd take the bait and decided to run a mock campaign. We want to challenge them to be nice and our fans were really happy to jump on board and started commenting on Kapiti's pages straight away."

Nice Blocks supports the Starship Foundation, through sales of its watermelon and lime flavoured ice blocks. It is set to donate $10,000 to the foundation by the end of this year. Crow says his main goal was to see if Kapiti would be willing to match the donation. 

When approached by StopPress, Kapiti's agency Assignment said it was instructed not to comment on the campaign. 

Kapiti marketing manager Margaret O'Sullivan said in a comment that the Fonterra team had been speaking with the team at Nice Blocks. 

"We respect what they've been doing. We think our new Kapiti ice blocks are some of the best we've made and that's why we used the word 'nicer'. We can see how they might see it differently and we've decided that we won't use it going forward."

True to their word, Kapiti deleted the offending post on Thursday afternoon and reposted the image with a new caption. 

Crow says he is disappointed Kapiti didn't allow a conversation to be had on the social media platforms. Despite deleting comments on its page that included suggestions to donate money to charity and support a living wage, Kapiti has since commented on Nice Blocks's post:

"Our fans were pretty gutted about being silenced, but we do welcome Kapiti to a conversation any time they want. We want to make some good out this but Kapiti haven't wanted to play that game."

"It's sad to see they couldn't step up and become a nicer block, our fans gave some great suggestions about how they could be more ethical and support some of the campaigns we have. They're welcome to match our donation to Starship next month if they want to be a nicer block."

This was originally posted on StopPress.

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