Wilkinson Sword has won a potentially crushing victory in its legal battle to prevent rival Gillette from claiming superiority in its advertising.
A German court has granted an injunction against Gillette that means the company cannot continue to claim that its Mach 3 razors shave closer or better than Wilkinson Sword’s four-bladed rival Quattro.
This is the first time a court has agreed with Wilkinson Sword data showing that the Mach 3 does not shave closer than Quattro. Legal experts expect the decision to affect advertising across Europe, as comparative claims are governed by European laws.
There are already signs that Gillette is backing down from making direct comparisons in the UK. Rafi Azim-Khan, head of advertising law for Wilkinson Sword’s law firm Wragge & Co, says Gillette has “watered down” its UK advertising for Mach 3 Turbo, which no longer claims to be the closest or smoothest shave.
Azim-Khan adds: “Gillette’s leadership has been built on being the closest shave on the market, so this will shake it up.” A spokesman for Gillette was not available for comment.
Wilkinson Sword marketing director Richard Nall says that Gillette’s “Your Best Shave” advertising can still run in the UK but says Wilkinson Sword will take another look at the advertising in the new year.
He adds: “When Gillette says that its Mach 3 gives you ‘your best shave’ it is making a fluffy claim that is hard to substantiate but even harder to attack.”