P&G defiant over criticism of Fairy ad



Procter & Gamble is refusing to pull its Fairy Traditional dishwashing powder TV ads despite allegations by competitor Benckiser, which makes Finish, that they are inaccurate and misleading.

The Fairy ads, which broke at the beginning of May, herald the introduction of a low-alkali, low-pH formulation that P&G claims is less abrasive on glassware than other dishwashing powders.

However, Benckiser says traditional powders have never been abrasive on glassware, and therefore the ads are misleading. Despite this assertion, Benckiser altered Finish to give it a low-alkali formulation soon after Fairy Traditional was launched.

Benckiser marketing director Keith Edwards says the formulation was introduced “because it has improved performance”.

A spokesman for P&G says it tweaked its Fairy Traditional ads following the introduction of Finish’s new formulation in mid-May. It says no further changes will be made.

“The ads were cleared by the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre and are fully supported by tests. Because this is a new product, the campaign is likely to run for some time,” he says.

Edwards says Benckiser will continue to call for the ads to be taken off air and added that lawyers were handling the case.

The company is developing new Finish ads through Burkitt Edwards Martin, but Benckiser’s Edwards says they will not emphasise the new formulation.