The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) provides a competitive complaint resolution service that is designed to determine complaints involving issues of truth, accuracy and legality of advertising on a user pays cost recovery basis. This is a low cost, efficient and effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court. The process is administrated by the Advertising Standards Bureau.
The ASB recently resolved a complaint by Colgate Palmolive relating to two TVCs and YouTube ads by Procter & Gamble. The complaint was considered under the section 1 of the Code of Ethics which deals with competitor complaints.
The ads compared Oral B toothpaste with Colgate toothpaste depicting the discoloured core of an apple to demonstrate the impact of a particular toothpaste to the inside of a tooth while comparing the impact to the effectiveness of the alternative product.
The ASB is comprised of variable panels of lawyers appointed from a register of lawyers who have certified to having experience and expertise in advertising and/or competition and consumer law. In its determination, the majority of the ASB determined that representations made in the ad were deceptive and misleading and likely to cause damage to business or good will. The advertiser was required to withdraw or modify the material in breach of the Code.
The ASB noted that in cases of comparative advertising, where a person produces a television commercial that boosts its own product and compares it critically with a product of another, so that the latter is shown in an unfavourable light by the comparison, particular care needs to be taken to ensure that statements are correct.
Read the full report here. More information on the Advertising Standards Board can be found at https://adstandards.com.au/about/advertising-claims-board