Use P&G’s air freshener Febreze and risk exposure to E. coli and other nasty germs. That was the implication of certain TV ads used by Febreze competitor Lysol, a Reckitt Benckiser brand, according to the National Advertising Division, the self-regulatory group.
In a ruling issued last week the NAD urged Reckitt to stop making the link between Febreze, E. coli and other fungi and Reckitt agreed to do so. Havas Worldwide is Reckitt’s lead creative agency.
According to the NAD, the voiceover in one Reckitt ad stated, “a Mediterranean Lavender with a hint of … Fungi,” followed by,“Sweet Citrus with a note of … E. coli.” As the voiceover continued the camera panned to dirty shoes and a dirty diaper. The voiceover then stated: “Air fresheners like Febreze smell nice, but aren’t approved to kill the germs that cause odors.”
P&G complained to the NAD and after an investigation, Reckitt agreed to discontinue making an association between fungi and E. coli and Febreze, a decision NAD said was “appropriate.” The group also urged Reckitt to stop implying in its ads that Lysol disinfectant spray kills 99.9% of germs when sprayed on soiled diapers and shoes. The company agreed to so.
Reckitt stated that it “believes it has support for all of its claims as shown in the advertising. However, as a strong supporter of NAD and the self-regulatory process, Reckitt Benckiser will make the revisions as described in the decision.”