ASA chastises Unilever over ‘mild’ offence

Unilever has been forced to amend a claim in its advertising that Persil Aloe Vera is “proven to be milder than the leading non-bio brands”, following complaints by its arch-rival Procter & Gamble to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The claim was made by Unilever UK subsidiary Lever Fabergé, in a direct mail campaign. P&G, which manufactures Ariel, challenged the implication that Persil Aloe Vera is milder than rival non-biological brands on sensitive skin (MW September 25).

According to the ASA, the claim was misleading because Lever Fabergé was unable to provide convincing evidence that Persil Aloe Vera is milder than the “leading” non-biological brands. Lever Fabergé has been referred to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Copy Advice team.

The campaign featured a baby’s bottom and the words: “For something as soft as this…”, followed by a woman’s naked upper body with the tagline: “you need something as kind as this.”

The ASA has also upheld complaints against Carphone Warehouse for sending out a commercial text message without consent. The retailer sent out a text message offering the chance to win a DVD player or six months’ line rental, if recipients called a certain telephone number.

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