It is not the first time the two toothpaste titans have locked horns over advertising, as GSK pulled up Colgate for misleading claims made in the same product’s UK adverts.
In this instance, NAD reviewed several of the claims made in Colgate’s advert regarding the speed at which the toothpaste works and the long-lasting relief it provides.
Lack of evidence
The main issue for the advertising watchdog was that Colgate’s evidence did not support its claims that its toothpaste works faster than Sensodyne to relieve pain, as the ad suggested.
NAD recommended that Colgate either discontinue the broadcast advertising at issue, or modify the advertising to ensure that it no longer conveys the unsupported ‘faster’ message, as well as the claim that the product is ‘clinically proven better’ than the leading sensitivity toothpaste.
Both Colgate and GSK are seeking to appeal certain of NAD’s findings to the National Advertising Review Board.
Companies to appeal
In its response, Colgate said the company would appeal NAD’s findings that it had insufficient support for certain superiority claims versus Sensodyne, as well as NAD’s rejection of Colgate’s time-to-improvement analysis.
Colgate also noted that it “continues to be a strong supporter of the NAD self-regulatory process.”
According to GSK, it will also be seeking to appeal a portion of NAD’s decision regarding Colgate’s use of the percentage differentials in materials directed to a professional audience, suggesting this one may rumble on.
More suggested modifications
NAD also recommended that Colgate either discontinue its “over 30 percent more relief… at 2 weeks” and “29 percent more relief… at 8 weeks” claims, or that modify these claims by clearly disclosing that the results were only seen in one of two test methods.
Finally, the advertising watchdog recommended that Colgate either discontinue the graphs that are shown in the professional advertisement, or modify them such that the scales do not visually exaggerate the differences between the products.