A TV ad for Unilever-owned deodorant brand Sure has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after comparing its effectiveness against rival brand Nivea was found to be misleading.
The advert for Sure Invisible Black+White deodorant included a bar chart titled Yellow Stain Effectiveness and showed a higher reading for a Sure product than a Nivea one.
Beiersdorf UK, owner of Nivea, challenged whether the ad's claim that Sure was superior to Nivea Black and White antiperspirant could be substantiated.
Unilever explained that the ad represented a new formula of Sure Invisible Black+White, which offered improved yellow stains protection compared to the previous formula.
It said independent testing had also shown that the product offered better anti-yellow stains protection compared to Nivea Invisible Black and White, the leading competing product. Unilever stressed that the ad included two distinct claims: "our superior black and white protection" and "superior to Nivea against yellow stains".
However the ASA said to support its claim for Sure to be superior to Nivea, Unilever would need to demonstrate that users of its product were likely to notice a difference to the level of staining on their clothes compared to their competitor's product.
The watchdog concluded that despite evidence submitted to back up the Unilever claim it could not be substantiated.
The ad must not appear again in its current form and the ASA told Unilever to ensure that all objective claims, including implied claims, were supported by appropriate substantiation.