Persil ad hit with ASA greenwashing ban after misleading environmental claims

A TV ad for Persil washing liquid has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for making misleading environmental claims.

The ASA took action against Persil for the TV spot as the brand stated that Persil products remove stains at 30 degrees Celsius and in 60 minute washes, and that their bottles of washing liquid are made with 50% recycled plastic.

The advertising watchdog said Persil had failed to make clear its “kinder to our planet” claim and penalised it for lacking evidence.

Sign up to Grocery Gazette’s FREE daily newsletter here

Unilever UK, owners of Persil, responded to the complaints by highlighting that the ad focused on how the brand “continually improve their products to be kinder to the planet.”

The multinational corporation claimed that it is well documented that reducing the temperature of a wash reduces carbon emissions and that this ad helps promote this.

With regards to the 50% less plastic promotion, Unilever stated that using recycled plastic ensures that bottles are kept in a ‘circular plastic economy’ and out of landfill.

Ultimately, the ASA declared that environmental claims made in ads must be clear and accurately substantiated.

“The ad did not state or explain the basis of the comparative claim, such as whether the advertised liquid detergents were “kinder” in comparison to Persil’s own previous products or other products,” the ASA said.

“In the absence of evidence demonstrating that the full life cycle of the product had a lesser environmental impact compared to a previous formulation, we concluded the ad was likely to mislead.”

The ASA ordered the ad to be taken down and asked Unilever to ensure that the basis of environmental claims are made clear in future ads.

“This decision continues the ASA’s robust approach to environmental claims – it remains focused on any perception of ‘greenwashing’ in advertising, and applies a strict approach to its analysis,” Harbottle & Lewis law firm partner, Andrew Terry said.

He added: “This means that brands need to be extremely careful about deploying generalised green terms in advertising, and instead have an absolutely laser like focus on the specific product, and its full life cycle.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.



Sign up to our daily newsletter to get all the latest grocery news and insights direct to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.