Clairol hair colour ad starring Christina Hendricks banned by ASA

A Clairol Nice 'n Easy TV ad featuring Christina Hendricks, the star TV actor of Mad Men, has been banned by the standards watchdog for being misleading.

The ad for the Procter and Gamble hair dye product, created by Grey, received two complaints from viewers – both hair colour educators – who said the hair colour change shown in the ad could not have been achieved using the product alone.

When contacted by the Advertising Standards Authority, P&G said the ad, which broke in April, was filmed in two parts in October 2014. Hendricks's hair had to be dyed from red to blonde, to red again, to ensure her hair colour change was kept a secret from the media. 

However, P&G had not filmed the ‘before’ phase of the ad before Hendricks’ hair was dyed blonde. It had dyed her hair blonde, filmed the ‘after’ phase, and did not film the ‘before’ phases until after her hair was dyed back to red a few days later. 

The FMCG giant also provided the ASA with a statement, signed by Hendricks and the colourist who worked on her hair, that said no other products were used that would affect hair colour. P&G also said no post-production techniques were carried out on the hair colour, apart from removing some flyaway strands.

Clearcast also told the ASA they believed the ad did not exaggerate the capability of the product and had received an explanation from P&G that confirmed it was possible to achieve the effect shown.

But the ASA concluded that the ad did breach BCAP Code rules relating to misleading advertising, substantiation and exaggeration.

The ad has now been banned and must not appear again in its current form. 

In its ruling, published today, the ASA said: "Because the visual claim had not been substantiated, and given that the sequence in which the model’s hair was coloured leading up to the TV shoots did not match the depiction in the ad, we concluded that it misleadingly exaggerated the capability of the product." 


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