ASA retreats on P&G ad attack

The Advertising Standards Authority has diluted its criticism of last year’s Procter & Gamble knocking ad campaign against Lever Brothers’ Persil Power.

In an original draft leaked to Marketing Week (December 2), the ASA upheld four out of six complaints made against P&G by two complainants, including Persil maker Lever Brothers. In the final version only three of the six complaints are accepted.

The revised report coincides with Lever’s decision effectively to kill Persil Power by withdrawing the manganese “accelerator” from its Radion Micro and Surf Super Concentrated and introduce its New Generation version. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and other retailers are dropping Persil Power.

The ASA originally accepted – and subsequently rejected – that the “ads mislead as to the extent to which products containing the `accelerator’ were unsafe”. It accepted Persil Power was more harmful than any detergent on the market but that the P&G ads “exaggerated [the] overall impression of the damage caused by the complainant[Lever’s] products”.

An ASA spokesman refused to comment the about turn.

“The ruling is confidential, and it would be inappropriate of me to comment,” says P&G marketing services director Dick Johnson.

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