NAD Rules Against Dove's Ad Claims Slamming Rivals

While one Dove campaign -- “Real Beauty Sketches” -- was reaping kudos and Lions at the Cannes ad festival last week, another for the brand’s Deep Moisture Body Wash was getting slammed for making unsubstantiated claims against the competition.

The National Advertising Division, a unit the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, acting on a complaint from the Dial Corp., ruled that a campaign for Deep Moisture Body Wash did not prove claims that competitors, including Dial, are “significantly more damaging to the skin than Dove Deep Moisture.”

The NAD recommended that Dove Deep Moisture, a Unilever brand, “discontinue its unqualified comparative harshness claims.”

Dove’s claims, the NAD asserted, “need to be supported by proper testing that yielded statistically significant and consumer meaningful results.”

The organization also urged that video reenactments of the product demonstration be discontinued and that Dove Deep Moisture remove visuals in ad messages that use barbed wire imaging to depict the degree of harshness of competitors. Dove didn’t offer any evidence that consumers using any competitors’ products would suffer serious skin damage, “much less the level of gouging depicted in the advertisements,” the NAD concluded.

In response, Unilever told the NAD that it disagreed with its findings and was appealing the decision to the National Advertising Review Board, also part of the ASRC.

Dove advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather didn’t immediately respond to a query seeking comment.

Word of the NAD decision first appeared in The New York Times.



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