Fonterra says it won't use the term "nicer" to promote its ice blocks following stick on social media from rival Nice Blocks.
To announce the launch of its new range of frozen desserts, Fonterra-owned Kapiti published a Facebook post encouraging Kiwis to "try a nicer block" - an apparent reference to independent Kiwi brand Nice Blocks.
Another ad posted on the Kapiti page featured the phrase "Nice Ice Baby".
Nice Blocks, which was founded in 2010 by Thomas Holden and James Crow, has served up a social media riposte by calling on Facebook users to tell Kapiti on what it actually takes to be a "nicer block".
The post argues that actually being "nice" might entail embracing a few of the Nice Blocks values, such as employing fair trade policies, paying staff a living wage or donating to Starship.
Margaret O'Sullivan, Kāpiti marketing manager, told the Herald that they had been in touch with the Nice Blocks team regarding the issue.
"We respect what they've been doing," O'Sullivan said.
"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."
Speaking to the Herald today, Nice Blocks co-founder Crow said he has no problem with competition and that he wasn't one to whinge but added this was clearly an attempt by Kapiti to get a rise out of the team at Nice Blocks.
"I don't know if they expected us to send them a lawyer's letter that we couldn't afford anyway, but that's not really our style," he said.
He said the team instead decided to use it as an opportunity to launch a tongue-in-cheek campaign educating Kapiti on what the "Nice" in the company name actually refers to.
Crow said this isn't the first time his company has locked horns with a Fonterra-owned company, explaining that Tip Top previously launched a now-discontinued range of premium ice blocks under the Ice Bar Co brand several years ago.
Commenting on the latest effort by Kapiti, Crow said he couldn't help but notice that the company has launched a watermelon and kaffir lime flavour, that reminded him of a limited edition flavour Nice Blocks released a few years ago.
"A couple of years ago, we worked with cancer survivor Ruby Seeto who helped us develop a watermelon and lime flavour that was used to raise funds for cancer research," says Crow.
Nice Blocks has long been a supporter of such causes and plans hand over a cheque of $10,000 to Starship Hospital later this year. He told the Herald that the best way this stoush could end up would be for Kapiti to step in and match that $10,000 donation.
"Now that would really be nice."