Cillit Bang's Barry Scott comeback TV ad banned by ASA

The advertising watchdog has banned a TV ad for Cillit Bang starring its brand ambassador Barry Scott, after viewers complained the ad misleadingly exaggerated the capabilities of the product.

Brand owner Reckitt Benckiser returned Scott to screens in November, after a six-year hiatus. The TV ad, by Havas Worldwide London, showed the presenter using Cillit Bang products to instantly remove limescale and dirt on kitchen appliances, accompanied by a graphic of a stopwatch and the words "Turbo Power".

In the ad Scott says: "Wow, that's fast! It powers through soap scum and watermarks. Look, go faster stripes! No other leading cleaner speeds through grime like that! Cillit Bang Limescale and Shine, with Turbo Power. Bang and the dirt is gone."

Five viewers complained that the ad misleadingly exaggerated the capabilities of the product. The complainants cited two scenes: the first shows a lump of limescale instantly dissolves in a tank with on-screen text stating "seven minutes"; the second which shows the cleaning effect of the product on taps and kitchen surfaces.

In the case of the first scene, Reckitt Benckiser argued the lump of limescale shown would take seven minutes to dissolve, but did not represent the amount of limescale found in the home, and that the on-screen message of "seven minutes" would clarify the situation to viewers. In this instance, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not uphold the complaint.

With the second scene, the FMCG giant insisted the "Limescale, gone in seconds" claim had been substantiated by video evidence provided to Clearcast, although acknowledging the level of limescale shown would probably require 20 seconds to dissolve in reality.

As this was likely to mislead consumers, the ASA ruled the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.

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