Reckitt Benckiser criticises Unilever Lifebuoy soap advert

The South African ad claimed that the product is the ‘world’s number one selling germ protection soap’

via lifebuoy.co.za

An advert for Lifebuoy soap shown in South Africa has been ruled in breach of advertising standards.

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) ruled in favour of Reckitt Benckiser South Africa, which complained about the Unilever advert’s claims.

The TV commercial was aired in March and showed a boy, his mother, and a man dressed in a white coat, who is visually identified as the ‘school nurse’.

It implied that a bar of Lifebuoy Active Silver Formula Total 10 would provide protection against germs as complimentary or an alternative to prescribed medication.

Reckitt Benckiser challenged the claim and said that a “reasonable consumer would therefore perceive and understand that the product is recommended by healthcare professionals”.

It also called for further substantiation of several other claims including whether the product is capable of fighting against, treating or preventing a child from contracting an infection or illness; and whether it provides ten times better protection against infection causing germs than any and every single ordinary (i.e. non-hygienic) soap in South Africa.

The ASA ruled in favour of the complainant explaining that, among other issues, the claim ‘World’s number one selling germ protection soap’ in respect of Lifebuoy Activ Silver Formula bar soap, had not been substantiated and was therefore in breach of Clause 4.1 of Section II.

It ruled that the company should withdraw its advertising claims with immediate effect.


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