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>> Home >> Dental News - Dental Videos

Colgate gets the brush off for 'misleading' ads


Placed by : Looking for Dental
19-01-2007

By David Derbyshire, Consumer Affairs Editor
Last Updated: 1:38am GMT 18/01/2007


Colgate’s long-standing claim that more than 80 per cent of dentists recommend its toothpaste is “misleading” and must never be used again, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority banned the slogan after finding that a poster campaign for Colgate was in breach of advertising rules. The claim, which has appeared on posters and adverts, is based on telephone surveys of dentists and hygienists carried out by the manufacturers.

However, the ASA found that the survey allowed each dentist to recommend more than one toothpaste. “The claim would be understood by readers to mean that 80 per cent of dentists recommend Colgate over and above other brands, and the remaining 20 per cent would recommend different brands,” the ASA said.

“Because we understood that another competitor’s brand was recommended almost as much as the Colgate brand by the dentists surveyed, we concluded that the claim misleadingly implied 80 per cent of dentists recommend Colgate toothpaste in preference to all other brands.”

The scripts used for the telephone survey stated that the research was being performed by an independent market research company - and did not make clear that it was commissioned by Colgate, the ASA report said.

Although the claim implied professional endorsement of the product by dentists, the company did not have written permission from the interviewees, it added. Moreover, four of Colgate’s branded toothpastes were “licensed medicinal products” for which endorsement by health professionals was prohibited.

The ASA told Colgate not to repeat the claim. Colgate-Palmolive argued that the toothpaste featured in the advert, Colgate Total Advanced Fresh, was not a licensed medicinal product and that the survey supported its claim.

A statement from the company said: “We are aware of the judgement but we are declining to comment.” Under the General Dental Council rules, dentists should not endorse products in exchange for payment, gifts or hospitality in case it appears to affect their professional judgement.

A spokesman for the British Dental Council said: “Dentists recommend toothpastes and other oral health products to their patients based on their knowledge of an individual’s oral health. “More important than the particular brand of toothpaste, is what it contains and how often it is used.”

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/17/ncolgate117.xml

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