A ‘misleading’ advert for Olay Regenerist facial moisturiser has been banned.
A page on Olay’s website claimed Olay Regenerist skincare products ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell’ while small text stated ‘by exfoliating skin surface cells’.
But a cosmetic doctor complained to watchdogs that the claim ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell’ was misleading.
Procter & Gamble (P&G) said that its Olay Regenerist range of facial moisturisers provided consumers with ‘hydration and surface exfoliation driven’ benefits.
The firm claimed that all products in the range included five per cent niacinamide (vitamin B3).
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the ad was in breach of rules regarding misleading advertising and substantiation, and ruled that it should not be used again in its current form.
P&G said that in the context of the claim, ‘cell by cell’ was not intended to convey a ‘specific performance benefit’ but to describe the ‘non-discriminatory mechanistic action’ by which the product worked on all surface skin cells to which they were applied.
The firm said that niacinamide was proven to increase the rate of surface cell renewal and provide an exfoliation benefit, while the lubricous nature of the product smoothed the skin’s surface.
But an ASA spokesman said: ‘We considered that consumers would understand the claim ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell,’ on its own, to mean that the products would have beneficial effect on the appearance of their skin, though it was not clear how that effect would be achieved.
‘We considered that ‘cell by cell’ implied that the product would have a deeper physiological effect rather than only a surface level effect, and that the word ‘re-energises’ reinforced that impression in this context.
‘Smaller text linked by an asterisk stated ‘by exfoliating skin surface cells’. While the qualifying text explained the basis of the headline claim, we considered that it was unlikely to counteract the impression given that the product would have a deeper effect on skin cells.
‘We understood that all products in the range contained niacinamide, which provided an exfoliation benefit.
‘We considered that the results of the consumer perception test provided by P&G indicated that a large proportion of users had perceived an improvement in their skin’s appearance after using Olay Regenerist 3 point age defying night cream.
‘They also provided survey results showing a high level of consumer agreement with the claim ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell’ in relation to different products in the Regenerist range.
‘However, we did not consider that an appearance benefit that was based only on the removal of surface cells was in line with the likely consumer interpretation of the claim ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell’ in the context of the ad.
‘We concluded that the claim ‘re-energises skin’s appearance cell by cell’ as consumers were likely to interpret it had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.’
He added: ‘The ad must not appear again in the form complained about.
‘We told Procter & Gamble (Health & Beauty Care) Ltd to ensure that they held sufficient evidence to support claims made in their advertising.’