P&G and Unilever clash over detergent ad claims

Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) is locked in a dispute over claims made by its arch rival Unilever that its Persil Aloe Vera is “milder than the two leading non-bios.

Packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G) is locked in a dispute over claims made by its arch rival Unilever that its Persil Aloe Vera is “milder than the two leading non-bios.” The two “leading” non-bios include P&G’s Ariel.

The claim was made by Unilever’s UK subsidiary Lever Fabergé in a direct mail campaign. P&G has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the complaint is being investigated.

A spokesman for Lever Fabergé says: “The ASA has not made a ruling on any complaints made against our direct mail campaign.”

This is not the first time that the companies have clashed over claims made in their detergent ads.

Last year the ASA castigated Lever Fabergé over an “unbeatable cleaning” claim made for the same brand in a press campaign created by J Walter Thompson. The ruling followed a complaint from P&G (MW September 5, 2002).

At the time, P&G also objected to the implication that Persil Non-Bio gives “unbeatable… care” and said that the Lever Fabergé product did not have a better cleaning performance than other detergents.

Earlier this year, Oxfordshire Trading Standards objected to a press ad for Persil that said: “Discover Persil’s kindest ever non-bio. New Persil Aloe Vera contains real extracts of aloe vera and is kinder to your skin. A drop of nature.” The trading standards authority complained to the ASA that the ad was misleading.

At the time, Lever Fabergé admitted that rather than the benefits of aloe vera, it is the overall kindness of the product that is important and the ad does not imply that the addition of aloe vera alone makes the product kinder to skin.

The ASA did not uphold the complaint (MW February 6).

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