Simon Mowbray
Procter & Gamble has landed rival Lever Fabergé ©n hot water with advertising watchdogs after complaining that an ad for Persil failed to prove whiter than white.
The Advertising Standards Authority this week upheld complaints from P&G that a national press ad for Persil Non-Bio washing powder was wrong to claim that the product delivered "unbeatable cleaning and care".
Although impressed by evidence showing that Persil was at least as good as rival brands, the ASA ruled the claim could not be substantiated and was therefore "misleading".
It is the latest spat between the two companies, with P&G's Ariel perennially fighting Persil for top spot in the detergents market.
Lever claims its brand leader has a commanding 29.75% share of the market compared with Ariel's 23.3%. Latest annual sales figures from Information Resources confirm Persil is in pole position with sales of its main wash offering topping £215m in grocers and drugstores compared with Ariel's £142m.
A spokeswoman for Lever Fabergé ³aid: "This complaint referred to one specific press advertisement last year for our previous Non-Bio formulation.
"We provided comprehensive supporting test data to support these claims and the ASA agreed that on a like for like basis Persil was unbeatable at cleaning.
"The difference in opinion between ourselves and P&G was down to different interpretations of consumer dosing behaviour."