Oral B toothpaste advert receives 7 complaints over medicinal claims

By Lucy Tandon Copp 4-Jul-2018

P&G is ordered to change the advert after receiving a complaint from a dental nurse and other viewers

The UK advertising watchdog ASA has ordered P&G to change an advert promoting its Oral B Gum and Enamel Repair toothpaste.

The regulatory body received seven complaints after the TV ad aired in August and September 2017, including one from a qualified dental nurse.

The ad featured two different women talking about gum twinges. A voiceover then stated: "New Oral B Gum and Enamel Repair toothpaste. Its active repair technology helps rejuvenate gums and repair enamel in just two weeks.”

The complainants challenged whether the claims complied with CAP Code.

P&G stood its ground explaining that it believed the claim was not medicinal and that weakened enamel was not a disease, but very common and well-known among consumers.

It also confirmed that the gum and toothpaste contained stannous fluoride, which provides an antibacterial ingredient to control bacterial growth and toxin production.

Unauthorised medicinal claims

However, the ASA sided with the complainants and declared that the ad breached BCAP Code.

It confirmed that medicinal claims could be made for a product licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or under the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or for a CE-marked medical device.

The toothpaste was not licensed as a medicine therefore P&G was not permitted to make any medicinal claims relating to it.

It stated: "We considered consumers would interpret the claim and the qualifying text, particularly because of the references to "repair[ing]" tooth enamel, that the advertised toothpaste would reverse the effects of damaged enamel in two weeks.

"We considered that it was suggested that the toothpaste could be used with a view to treat an adverse condition, specifically damaged enamel, and was therefore a medicinal claim."

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It also acknowledged that viewers would interpret the ad to imply that the product could reverse the effects of damaged gums caused by gum disease through the use of the language "repair" and "restore".

The ad was deemed to make medicinal claims without the product being licensed as a medicine or medical device.

The ASA ordered P&G not to run the ad again in its current form.