Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated both of which were Not upheld.
A TV ad, for Oral-B 3D White Brilliance toothpaste, featured a woman and a man sitting on a bus. The voice-over said, "When you smile, the world smiles back. Introducing new Oral-B 3D White Brilliance toothpaste. It helps whiten the front, back, and visible gaps between teeth, for whiter teeth in 2 weeks." The ad then featured Holly Willoughby who stated, "You see! No one can resist the perfect white smile. That's why Oral-B 3D White is always part of my beauty regime." She then smiled, revealing white teeth.
1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because they believed Ms Willoughby's white teeth were the result of digital manipulation, not the product.
2. A second complainant challenged whether the ad was misleading, because they believed Ms Willoughby's white teeth were the result of professional whitening, not the product.
1. & 2. Proctor & Gamble said the raw film had been subject to normal grading to provide the film with contrast and depth. They provided the ASA with a copy of the finished ad and the ungraded film. They explained that no digital adjustments or enhancements were applied to Ms Willoughby's teeth.
Proctor & Gamble also said Ms Willoughby's teeth had been cleaned prior to the shoot, but said they had not been whitened. They provided a signed letter from Ms Willoughby, which confirmed that she had used the advertised product over a two-week period prior to filming the ad and noticed visibly whiter teeth.
Clearcast said they had received written confirmation from Ms Willoughby that the ad truly and accurately represented her opinion/experience of the advertised product. They said they approved the script with the caveat that care should be taken to ensure the demonstration sequence was genuine. On that basis, they believed the ad did not exaggerate the efficacy of the advertised product.
1. & 2. Not upheld
The ASA noted the ad stated that the advertised product could achieve whiter teeth in two weeks. We understood that Ms Willoughby's teeth had not been whitened prior to filming the ad and noted Ms Willoughby provided an assurance that she had used the advertised product for two weeks prior to filming the ad and noticed visibly whiter teeth. We also noted Ms Willoughby provided a further assurance that the ad truly and accurately represented her opinion/experience of the advertised product.
We acknowledged that advertisers were keen to present their products in their most positive light using techniques such as post-production enhancement and the re-touching of images. We considered that approach was acceptable so long as the resulting effect was not one which misleadingly exaggerated the effect the product was capable of achieving. We examined both the graded and un-graded versions of the ad and noted the overall appearance of Ms Willoughby's teeth in the ad had not been significantly modified.
Because Ms Willoughby had used the advertised product for a two-week period prior to filming the ad and noticed visibly whiter teeth, her teeth had not been whitened prior to filming the ad and her teeth had not been significantly modified during post production, we considered the ad did not exaggerate the efficacy of the advertised product. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.12 3.12 Advertisements must not mislead by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product or service. (Exaggeration) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.