Boots’ Little Me Organics ad judged misleading by the ASA

Published: 18-Oct-2012

Product contains less than 5% organic ingredients

UK retailer Boots has been challenged over claims that an ad on its website, which promoted the Little Me Organics Oh So Gentle Hair and Body Wash, was misleading as it implied the product met an independent organic standard.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad was misleading as the product only contains less than 5% organic ingredients; a product is defined as organic only if it contains a high proportion of organic ingredients. In the ASA’s final ruling, it instructed that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

In its response, Boots said that it “understood that there was no legal definition of what constituted ‘organic’ with reference to cosmetics” and that it “believed that a reasonable consumer would understand that the product contained some organic ingredients, namely pear, mallow and aloe vera, as stated in the product description and on the product label.”

In a separate case, Church and Dwight UK Ltd was investigated about two separate issues surrounding the television ad and website for Arm & Hammer Advanced Whitening toothpaste. The first complaint challenged whether the whitening claims in the television ad could be substantiated, while the second challenged whether the claim “3 shades whiter” on the Arm & Hammer website could be substantiated. The ASA upheld both issues and ruled that the ads must not appear again in their current form and that Church & Dwight should ensure “they held robust evidence to support whitening claims”.

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