ASA Adjudication on HERB UK Ltd
HERB UK Ltd
310 Ampress Lane
16 September 2009
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
A direct mailing from HERB UK, sent to hairdressers, stated "Why not offer you and your clients a breath of fresh air? organic colour curl care control systems Ammonia-free colour www.organiccoloursystems.com ...".
Gentle Beauty Ltd challenged whether the claims "organic" and "organiccoloursystems" were misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
HERB UK stated that 'Organic Colour Systems' was the brand name for their range of ammonia-free hair colour, which had been marketed and sold around the world for the last 15 years. They explained that it was also a registered trademark, and enclosed a copy of the Certificate of Registration. They said the supporting ranges - 'Organic Curl Systems', 'Organic Care Systems' and 'Organic Control Systems' - were similarly established and recognised brand names across the world; 'Organic Control Systems' was a registered trademark and the other two names were currently in the process of receiving that same status.
HERB UK said their products included selected organic ingredients, certified by the Soil Association. They continued that the word "organic" in their brand names referred to the hair colour product having a carbon basis and being based on natural ingredients, free from animal testing and kind and gentle to the user and environment; they believed those meanings were associated with the word "organic" when the 'Organic Colour Systems' brand was launched. They argued that, although the word "organic" had developed the new meaning of 'not involving or produced with chemical fertilisers or other artificial chemicals' over the last 15 years, that did not mean the original meanings of the word were no longer valid.
They said there was, as yet, no independent standard for organic hair colour, but other hair care brands in the market place used the term "organic" in their names.
The ASA considered that readers would understand the claims "organic", "organiccoloursystems" and "organic ... curl care control systems" to mean the hair colour met an independently defined organic standard, not merely a standard defined by HERB UK. We understood, however, that there was no UK standard for organic hair colouring. We therefore concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated and were likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code clauses 3.1 (Substantiation), 7.1 (Truthfulness) and 49.1 (Environmental claims).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told HERB UK not to use the names 'Organic Colour Systems' or 'Organic Control Systems' in future marketing communications unless they included a prominent statement disclaiming the implied "organic" claim. We also told them not to use the names 'Organic Curl Systems' or 'Organic Care Systems' in their advertising until and unless those names had been registered as trademarks, and the advertising included a prominent statement disclaiming the implied "organic" claim.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)