A TV ad and a magazine ad for Ariel Liquid Detergent and Ariel Stain Remover:
a. The TV ad showed two young women in a laundry room. The first woman said, "So it's usually when I want to wear my favourite vintage dress that I realise maybe I should do my washing a bit more often, 'cause it's covered in all these weird mystery stains. I'm like what is that? Coffee, right?" Her friend replied, "Probably." The first woman then said, "Mum sent down this Ariel stain remover stuff to put in the wash with Ariel and it's like three times as powerful apparently." On-screen text stated "Tested on bleachable stains vs. 3 x dose Ariel Compact". The first woman continued, "And now the stains have gone and I've got my vintage dress back." A visual was then seen with an Ariel liquid detergent bottle, a "+" sign and an Ariel stain remover box. A voice-over then said, "Ariel plus Ariel Stain Remover, triple your power against stains." On-screen text stated "3x Stain Removal Power at 30 degrees C ... Tested on bleachable stains vs. 3 x dose Ariel Compact."
b. The magazine ad showed an image of a white shirt in water surrounded with bubbles. Text stated "3x Stain Removal Power at 30 degrees C*" Small print underneath stated "*Ariel Stain Remover and Ariel Liquid detergent tested vs. 3 doses of Ariel Liquid Detergent". The ad included the graphic of an Ariel liquid detergent bottle, a "+" sign and an Ariel stain remover box.
Unilever UK Ltd challenged whether the claim "3x Stain Removal Power at 30 degrees C" in combination with the qualifications in ads (a) and (b) was ambiguous and misleading.
Procter & Gamble UK said the ads conceptualised the significant benefit of combining Ariel Stain Remover with Ariel Liquid Detergent. They said the essence of the ads was the message that one recommended dose of Ariel Stain Remover with a normal dose of Ariel Liquid meant the consumer achieved the equivalent performance of three doses of Ariel Liquid.
Procter & Gamble said in the TV ad (a), as the woman made the three times claim, a bottle of Ariel liquid detergent was shown in the background, accompanied with on-screen text that stated "Tested on bleachable stains vs. 3x dose Ariel Compact" and it was therefore clear that the performance was equal to three doses of Ariel Liquid. They said this was also the case at the end of the TV ad when the voice-over stated, "Ariel plus Ariel Stain Remover, triple your power against stains" accompanied with the on-screen text "vs. 3 dose Ariel Compact". They said the point of comparison was entirely clear and this helped consumers to understand the benefit of using both products together. They said a similar claim and qualification was made in the print advertising.
Clearcast said they consulted a laundry expert who said the TV ad should include on-screen text that stated either "3x stain fighting power at 30 degrees C" or "Triple your stain fighting power at 30 degrees C". Their expert also recommended that a voice-over was included that stated either "Three times the stain fighting power at 30 degrees” or "Triple the stain fighting power at 30 degrees" provided this was accompanied with the on-screen text "tested on bleachable stains vs. 3 x dose Ariel Compact". They considered the qualifications in ad made the basis of the comparison clear. They said the voice-over said, "Three times the power" and the on-screen text further clarified the comparison. They said because the voice-over stated that Ariel Stain Remover was to be used with Ariel Compact Liquid, accompanied with visuals of the two products, it was clear both products used together would achieve the result of using one product by three times.
The ASA acknowledged that the various "three times stain removal power" claims in both ads were accompanied with text that explained the basis of the comparison. We also noted that both ads included visuals of the two products together. We therefore considered consumers would understand the "three times stain removal power" claims to be based on one dose of each of the two advertised products compared with three doses of Ariel Liquid detergent.
We considered that, whether or not a comparison with three doses of detergent was reflective of consumers' normal laundry washing habits, the basis of the claim was made clear. We therefore concluded ads (a) and (b) were not ambiguous or misleading.
We investigated ad (a) under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. and 3.11 3.11 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
BCAP has published Guidance on Superimposed Text to help television broadcasters ensure compliance with rule 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. . The guidance is available at:
http://www.cap.org.uk/~/media/Files/CAP/Help%20notes%20new/BCAP_Advertising_Guidance_Notes_1.ashx (Qualification) but did not find it in breach.
We investigated ad (b) under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. and 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.