The Independent Television Commission (ITC) has banned Procter & Gamble from showing a TV ad for its Swiffer duster following a complaint from rival Johnson Wax.
The company said the ad, which claims Swiffer cloths are “thicker and more attractive to capture more dust and hair” than a thinner, unnamed cloth, was a “thinly veiled denigratory comparison” with its own product, Pledge Dust and Go.
Johnson Wax also alleged that the ad was misleading because the thickness of the cloths had no impact on their effectiveness, and added that the Swiffer cloths did not perform better than its own brand.
After studying evidence from both parties, regulators concluded that P&G’s claim that the greater thickness of its cloths made them more effective was not supported.
But while the ITC agreed the ad was misleading and should not be shown again in its present form, it did not uphold Johnson Wax’s claim that the ads were denigratory.
An ITC spokeswoman says: “The advertising code does not allow advertisers to unfairly attack or discredit other products or services.”
Earlier this year in the US, P&G persuaded a court to issue a temporary restraining order preventing Johnson Wax from airing its comparative ad, which alleged that the Swiffer cloth was inferior to Johnson’s Grab-It product.