Shaving giants resort to the law over advertising slogans

Wilkinson Sword is heading for a court room showdown with rival Gillette over the latter’s iconic advertising tagline “The best a man can get”.

Wilkinson Sword’s lawsuit claims the advertising seriously misleads the public into thinking that Gillette’s Mach 3 Turbo razor gives a better shave than Wilkinson Sword’s recently launched four-blade razor Quattro.

Gillette’s dominance of the shaving market is rooted in the campaign, which was launched in 1989 and helped to turn around the fortunes of the company.

The move pre-empts the threat of a similar lawsuit from Gillette, which was expected to contest Wilkinson Sword’s claim that Quattro is the “closest shave ever” (MW August 28). Gillette has already filed a lawsuit claiming that Wilkinson Sword has infringed the patented technology used in its Mach 3 razor.

The case was launched in the US last week, and a Wilkinson Sword insider says it could now move to Europe. “We are waiting to see – it is difficult to predict how it will go at this stage.”

Industry sources say Wilkinson Sword has already consulted the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK about what claims a shaving company can make.

The US suit also demands that Gillette halt advertising and pay damages over Gillette’s Sensor 3 disposable razor marketing. The first UK advertising for Sensor 3 broke last week, using the claim ‘The best disposable razor you ever threw away.” Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO developed the campaign.

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