Persil’s ‘kinder to our planet’ ad banned by watchdog for misleading environment claims
Persil has had one of its detergent ads banned, after regulators found it to be being misleading about its environmental benefits.
The advertising watchdog said that the television ad, which claimed to promote a laundry detergent that was “kinder to our planet”, was unsubstantiated and thereby misleading to consumers.
Persil’s parent firm Unilever initially argued that the product was in fact “kinder” to the planet because it saved on energy by offering faster washes at lower temperatures. It also said that the product was made of used recycled plastic.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) took issue with the fact that the ad featured various strands of messaging about Persil’s wider environmental initiatives, including “encouraging people to personally take action to care for the environment”, and showing children collecting plastic litter, with the statement “Dirt is Good”.
“The context of the entire ad with several messages relating to environmental issues, we considered the meaning and basis of the claim “kinder to our planet” was unclear,” the ASA said.
Unilever, which also owns brands like Dove, said it was “disappointed” with the decision.
“We are committed to making on-going improvements to all our products to make them more sustainable and will continue to look at how we can share this with our shoppers,” the consumer goods giant said.
Partner at law firm Harbottle & Lewis Andrew Terry said the decision shows “robust approach to environmental claims” and called on brands to be more cautious with “deploying generalised green terms”.