Procter & Gamble is understood to have made a complaint to the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre alleging that its rival Benckiser has plagiarised an ad created for its new 30m pan-European brand, Ace.
It has also emerged that the new Vanish advertising in the UK has been modified by M&C Saatchi after Benckiser secretly shifted the account out of Roose & Partners two months ago.
The Ace bleach detergent is P&G’s first entirely new product launch in the UK laundry market for 20 years.
The row centres on advertising for Benckiser’s Vanish Liquid brand. P&G alleges in its complaint that a new ad for Vanish Liquid uses the same format – a younger woman consulting an older woman on an article of stained clothing – and the same dialogue as an ad produced for a test in the Border TV area for the UK launch of Ace.
“P&G is furious about this,” says one source. “It has complained to the BACC alleging that Benckiser has copied the Ace ad, which includes the woman going for a job interview. It isn’t the execution, it is the wording that P&G is most bothered about.”
According to sources, the Vanish account was shifted in anticipation of the launch of a major Benckiser detergent brand in the UK later this year, to be handled by M&C.
“The BACC saw the ad and cleared it for broadcast after it was submitted in February,” says a Benckiser spokesman. “It has run in this format across Europe for years. And the ad was put together before the Ace ad aired.”
A P&G spokesman says: “It is a confidential matter between ourselves and the BACC – we are aware of the Vanish Liquid advertising.”