Olay and Dove are squabbling over an issue of sensitivity.
Olay’s Web site claims Dove’s Sensitive Skin Body Wash is harsh and dries out skin over time. But not everyone agrees and the battle ended with an acknowledgement.
The National Advertising Division, an investigative advertising watchdog of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, has recommended that Procter & Gamble, the maker of Olay Sensitive Body Wash, discontinue these assertions.
The NAD noted that even if the evidence in the record demonstrates that the Unilever-owned Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash is more drying than a hydration standard, that does not provide a reasonable basis for a claim that Dove Sensitive Skin is “harsh” or significantly “harsher” than Olay Sensitive Body wash.
In support of the claims, P&G submitted its independent “leg controlled application test” (LCAT) of subjects with dry skin. During the 12-day test, both Dove and Olay’s sensitive body washes were tested against a water control and Corneometer readings were taken at certain time points to assess hydration.
According to the NAD, the results indicated that Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash was more drying than water at most of the reported time points and statistically significantly more drying than water only at the last time point of the study.
Following the test, the NAD recommended that P&G discontinue the claim “So say goodbye to harsher body wash and hello to gentler, moisturizing Olay Sensitive Body Wash” and avoid conveying the allegedly unsupported message that Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash is “harsh.” The NAD noted that the advertiser should modify its claim that “Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash dries out your skin over time” to more accurately reflect the LCAT results.
Additionally, the NAD suggested that P&G alter its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported messages that consumers who use Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash will have noticeably drier skin with continued use and that consumers will perceive the drying effect of Dove Sensitive Skin Body Wash upon contact.
“We appreciate the NAD’s thorough review of our technology and test methods, and applaud the NAD’s actions to monitor advertising practices across the industry,” said a spokesman for Olay. “While the ruling found the underlying principles and study supported the claim, we respect their recommendation to modify the wording and will do so in future advertising.”