Colgate toothpaste ad not quite whiter than white, says ASA

An online ad for Colgate Max White One Optic wrongly gave the impression that the toothpaste delivered an immediate, major whitening effect, the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled.

Colgate toothpaste ad not quite whiter than white, says ASA

The complaint against the video ad on the Colgate website, dating back to August 2014, was brought by Procter & Gamble UK, which owns rival brand Oral-B.

P&G argued that three claims contained in the video's voiceover were misleading: the phrases "revolutionary new toothpaste", "instantly whiter" smile/look, and "much whiter". It also objected to the text "temporary visual effect provided by clinically proven optic brighteners", which was shown on screen at the end.

The ASA dismissed the first, second and fourth of these, thanks to a large amount of evidence provided by Colgate-Palmolive to support the claims.

It found that the first claim was valid because the toothpaste contained a technology called optic brighteners, which had not been used before in another toothpaste in the UK.

It also said the second and fourth claims were acceptable, because the optic brighteners apply a blue pigment to the teeth that gives them an immediate whiter appearance.

But on the third claim, the ASA said consumers would understand this to refer to the immediate whitening effect. Although there was evidence that this effect was noticeable, the watchdog said the phrase "much whiter" exaggerated the effect, which was small.

The ad must not be used again in the form complained about.

Cannes Offer: 12 weeks' online access from just £12

Subscribe to Campaign before the end of Cannes Lions and save up to 71%


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 Publicis Groupe withdraws from marketing and awards to focus on AI-powered platform Marcel

Publicis Groupe is pulling out of all marketing activity for the next 365 days - and won't be entering awards at Cannes next year - as it focuses its resources on developing Marcel, described by chief executive Arthur Sadoun as a ground breaking new platform.

Job description: Digital marketing executive

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).

Just published