ASA upholds complaint against toothbrush ad
The ASA is upholding a complaint made by Colgate-Palmolive against rival dental brand Curaprox. The brand reported a magazine ad as well as a website advertising Curaprox CS 5,460 toothbrushes.
A magazine advert for the brand's CS 5460 toothbrushes read: "10x more bristles for a 10x better clean!" The company claimed that the brush’s total number of bristles was ten times higher than the average toothbrush and stated: "The more filaments on the head, the more plaque that can be removed". The company website also boasted: "A CS 5,460 ultra soft toothbrush offers unparalleled gentleness to gums".
Colgate-Palmolive disputed Curaprox's claims, reporting the ads to the ASA. In response, Curaprox provided a study from the American Journal of Dentistry exploring the link between toothbrush bristle density and plaque removal. It also stated that its product has 5,460 bristles – between five and ten times more than other toothbrushes. However, the ASA said that Curaprox had not adequately demonstrated that ten times was a representative comparison to competitor brushes nor were its plaque removal claims sufficient.
The ASA also noted that consumers would accept Curaprox's "unparalleled gentleness" claim to mean that the brush was objectively gentler than any other on the market. The watchdog ruled that the brand had breached codes on comparisons with identifiable competitors, misleading advertising and substantiation.
Curaprox has been told that these ads must not appear again in their current form and cannot repeat the disputed claims. It has also been told to ensure that future statements are adequately supported and that comparisons against competitors are verified.